Jazz, film, and improvised culture.
The Reconstruction of William Zero: Cloning in Suburbia
though the technology is not there yet, most countries have laws on the books
limiting the extent of human cloning. A geneticist with issues will demonstrate
why such precautions are probably prudent. Uncertified copies will be made in
Dan Bush’s The Reconstruction of William
which opens tomorrow in select cities.
he wakes up in a suburban split-level suspiciously well-appointed with medical
equipment, a man finds himself being cared for by someone claiming to be his
fraternal twin. Since they are dead-ringers for each other, this should be
believable. However, he would have to have been born yesterday not to be leery
of the squirrely-acting fellow. Of course in his case, that is not so very far
from the truth.
Blakely was a geneticist at Next Corp, whose cloning team reached an impasse
with their canine test subjects. Every proxy, as they call them, developed
rapidly progressing brain tumors. Clearly, it is way too early to apply this
technology to human beings. Yet, Blakely has apparently done just that. He had
his motives, specifically the debilitating guilt stemming from the accidental
death of his young son several years ago. As the new proxy’s artificially
impressed memories kick in, he sets out to make amends for abandoning his
grieving wife Jules, while his “brother” ominously shadowing him.
is always cool when a filmmaker finds an inventive way to realize a science
fiction film without a lot of effects. However, this requires a really grabby story
and a mind-twisting concept. Films like Coherence,
Frequencies, and the soon to be released Time Lapse have both, but Reconstruction
is a little short in both departments. Granted, Bush’s first act is rather
effectively disorienting, but once we all have our bearings, the film proceeds in
a quite orderly manner to a disappointingly standard conclusion.
opts to focus on the personal drama of a clone coming to terms with his clone-hood,
which is an interesting strategy, but it does not provide much grist to turn
your head inside out. As a result, it is a fine showcase for co-writer Conal
Byrne, who essentially gets to play extreme versions of the same William character,
all of whom/which he differentiates quite distinctly. Amy Seimetz also looks convincingly
exhausted as the still hurting Jules, but her frequent co-star A.J. Bowen must bid
too hasty an exit as a private investigator prowling around Blakely’s house.
A clone’s journey to self-awareness is a
potentially fascinating subject, but Bush never manages to lower the dramatic boom
with authority. It is the sort of film that will leave viewers wondering: “so,
that’s really it then?” Its DIY scrappiness is commendable, but it needed more narrative
development. Not the definitive cloning film, The Reconstruction of William Zero opens tomorrow (4/10) in Los
Angeles, at the Arena Cinema.
Labels: Clones, Sci-Fi films