Replicas review: Poorly developed and staid
Replicas is intermittently engaging but is a huge disappointment overall
By: Troy Ribeiro/IANS
Critic's Rating: 1.5/5
Friday 18 January 2019
Keanu Reeves, Alice Eve, Thomas Middleditch, John Ortiz, Emjay Anthony, Emily Alyn Lind
Despite having a promising premise, Director Jeffrey Nachmanoff's Replicas, is a big let-down.
Mounted with poorly developed, fictional, pseudo-science which deals with resurrecting the dead, Replicas is the tale of synthetic biologist William Foster (Keanu Reeves) who works for a stock biotech firm called Bionyne based in Puerto Rico.
Working on a methodology to transfer a dead person's consciousness into an android casing, William's several attempts have been futile. Realising that he is being overworked and at a dead-end professionally, he decides to spend some quality time with his family. He takes a break and travels with his wife and three children on a family vacation.
En route, their car meets with an accident on a storm-swept road and his entire family is killed. Desperate to revive them and despite not having perfected the technology he was working on, William seeks the help from his colleague Ed Whittle (Thomas Middleditch) and how he manages to bring them back to life, forms the crux of the tale.
While the director seem to focus exclusively on the plot, the nitty-gritties in various departments are lost in the on-screen translation. Here, every scene seems perfunctory, as they lack the emotional heft and thus the audience does not invest in the characters.
Case in point is during the set-up. While the dynamics between the members of the family are strong before the accident, neither the director nor the script bother to create the space to even suggest the possible emotional and psychological imbalance William would suffer, which seems very odd.
The plot seemed to propel in a very perfunctory manner. Even the ethics and morality of the subject is rehashed in repetitive dialogues between William and Ed, which is contrary to their action. What further pushes the film to its nadir, is the unwarranted twist at the very end.
The only thing that holds your attention is Keanu Reeves' sincere efforts to sell you his emotional motivation. He anchors the film like a captain on a sinking vessel.
He is aptly supported by; Alice Eve as his wife Mona, Emily Alyn Lind as his daughter Sophie, Emjay Anthony as his son Matt, Thomas Middleditch as his colleague Ed Whittle and John Ortiz as his unscrupulous boss, Jones. They all in underwritten characters, don't bring much gravitas to the tale.
The film is intermittently engaging but overall, as initially mentioned, is a huge disappointment.