Sundance Review: Dual

Sarah training for competition

I think everyone is afraid, at one time or another, of becoming terminally ill. It’s only natural to fear for the worst every time you’re waiting for results from medical tests. As a species, we spend far too much time considering our own mortality. Running disaster scenarios through our heads. It’s one area where the internet really doesn’t help! We tend to think only of ourselves, but what about those we’ll leave behind. Dual offers a solution.

Sarah’s (Karen Gillan) life is pretty normal. One day is pretty much like another. She spends time speaking to Peter (Beulah Koale), her boyfriend, who is working away. Assiduously, avoiding her mother’s (Maija Paunio) calls. After a sudden illness, Sarah discovers that she’s terminally ill. In order to lessen the blow on her loved ones, she pays for a replacement clone. Spending her final days teaching it how to be her. Things don’t quite go to plan.

It takes time to immerse yourself into the rhythms of Dual, but as soon as you’re on the same wavelength you’re in for an entertaining experience. It’s driven by a committed and ultimately impressive performance from Gillan. The devil is in the detail and Riley Stearns’ film excels at putting Sarah through her paces, with the help of Aaron Paul’s personal trainer. Dual is a thoughtful and offbeat science fiction drama.

Dual screens at Sundance Film Festival.

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