Director – Riley Stearns (The Art of Self-Defense, Faults)
Starring – Karen Gillan (Doctor Who, Gunpowder Milkshake), Aaron Paul (Breaking Bad, The Last House on the Left), and Beulah Koale (Shadow in the Cloud, The Panthers)
Release Date – 2022
Rating – 2/5
Several weeks ago I received the press release for the sci-fi thriller Dual. The film starred Marvel’s own Nebula, Karen Gillan and Breaking Bad’s Aaron Paul. I’ve been a fan of Karen Gillan for several years after her appearance in Doctor Who. That is one of my favorite shows and her portrayal of Amy Pond is one of my favorite companions of the revival series. I was very curious about the film especially after I saw the cast. I reached out for a review copy and was granted one. Sadly, it was sent to an old address and I couldn’t get it in a timely manner. I was able to snag a screening link and after dealing with crappy internet for several hours I was finally able to check it out.
**Spoiler Alert** The film follows Sarah (Gillan) who is given devastating news. She is terminally ill and given a short time to prepare for her imminent demise. To help her family and loved ones cope with her death, she agrees to pay for a clone so that they will continue to have her in their lives even though she has passed. However, her terminal diagnosis was quickly retracted after her family has grown attached to the clone. The clone is typically decommissioned in an instance like this but due to the time it took she is given rights. The two are then entered into a combat for survival so only one can live the life of Sarah. The original seeks help from a combat trainer in order to give herself a better chance in surviving but things don’t go according to plan. **Spoiler alert**
I absolutely fucking loved the idea of Dual. It is an absolutely fantastic idea that could have been something truly spectacular. I know I often say this but I really love the idea behind this one but the way it was executed was very disappointing. The movie could have been a bloody action horror film in the same vain as Battle Royale. However, the way it was actually done feels like a dark drama with thriller elements. It was very underwhelming.
The acting in this one is great. I was expecting Gillan and Paul to cameo in the film with the movie focus on some other characters. This is often a bait tactic by production companies to cash in on popularity of big names. However, it was only Paul with the smaller role while the entire film was centered around Gillan. She was absolutely fantastic but I would have loved to see her tackle a film where the dual roles has drastic personalities. It was awesome watching her in this but the original and clone were so close together that it was impossible to tell them apart. That does work with the twist at the end but it was a bit of a bummer see her portray essentially the same character twice.
The story for this one would have been something for the ages if they didn’t tote the line between thriller and dark drama. Having a film where an original clone battle for their name is something that could have been extremely bloody, violent, and have the impact to become a popular horror franchise. However, the entire film focuses on Sarah in the most boring way possible. We watch her mentally prepare for death, watch her get replaced by her clone, and continue to show as little emotion as possible. Honestly, I have no idea why this angle was approached because it is easily the dullest use of this story.
Finally, the film has some blood and a dead dog but that is the extent of the effects that we get. It’s a bit of a shame considering the film centered around clones fighting to the death. Overall, Dual had a solid set up but it wasn’t something I could get into. Honestly, Dual could have been titled Dull because it was just that.