‘Dual’ (2022) Movie Review – Sarah chooses a cloning operation after receiving a terminal prognosis to help her friends and family cope with her loss. Her attempts to decommission her clone fail when she makes a miraculous recovery, forcing a court-ordered duel to the death. She now has a year to prepare her mind and body for the most important struggle of her life.
- Air date: 22 January 2022 (USA)
- Director: Riley Stearns
- Writer: Riley Stearns
- Stars: Karen Gillan, Aaron Paul, Beulah Koale
- Producers: Riley Stearns, Aram Tertzakian, Lee Kim, Nathaniel Bolotin, Nick Spicer, Maxime Cottray
- Distributed by: XYZ Films, RLJE Films
‘Dual’ (2022) Movie Review
The idea of doppelgängers, or “the double,” goes against our sense of individuality and uniqueness. Riley Stearns’ “Dual” is a “double” story. While the film’s flat affect tone and chilly visuals create a spooky interest, it refuses to address the deeper psychological and even existential implications of its own story, implications that are present in the narrative but somehow skipped over or ignored.
Despite Karen Gillan’s great primary performance as herself and her own duplicate, “Dual” is a surprisingly lacklustre viewing experience. It is not possible to go deeper into the investigation.
“Dual” appears to take place in the present day, but with one technological advancement: duplicating oneself is no longer a pipe dream, but a reality. The “replacement” process, according to the glossy commercials, is a loving thing to do: if you die young, there will still be a “you” available to take your place. There will be no need for your loved ones to grieve.
The “replacements,” as they are known, are created from a single drop of spit, and they spend time with the “original” during the transition phase, becoming acquainted with his or her life, including all of their likes and dislikes, in preparation for the eventual takeover. The transition from the original to the replacement should be smooth.
But things don’t go as planned for Sarah (Karen Gillan), who is suffering from an unknown deadly illness. The only two people who truly “count” in Sarah’s life are her lover Peter (Beulah Koale) and her continuously disapproving mother (Maija Paunio). Sarah decides to develop a “replacement” after keeping her illness hidden from both of them.
The sales person dismisses the customer’s financial concerns, explaining that following Sarah’s death, the “replacement” will be responsible for the payment. Except for one thing, when the replacement enters the room, it’s a perfect match. Sarah’s eyes are brown, while the replacement’s are blue. No worries, the substitute can wear coloured contacts!
The abnormality, however, is a foreshadowing of things to come. Sarah’s replacement swiftly demonstrates alarming ambition. She isn’t only attempting to imitate Sarah. She’s establishing herself as a better person in every way. She flips a framed portrait of Sarah and Peter face-down after staring at it. Sarah’s clothes don’t fit her because she is a smaller size, she says.
— Karen Gillan (@karengillan) March 31, 2022
She is more daring and excellent in bed. Sarah’s mother prefers Sarah the substitute than Sarah the actual. Peter feels the same way. Sarah is squeezing herself out of her own life.
It takes a long, complicated process to “decommission” a successor, which culminates in a public confrontation between the original and her replacement. Sarah chooses this path and employs a combat trainer (Aaron Paul) to prepare her for just a fight with her own double. After that, there are a series of training montages. This relationship is at the heart of the picture, and it’s also at the heart of what “Dual” is interested in.
These scenes are amusing and unique, such as the two of them practising a slo-mo battle together or performing some hip-hop dancing to mix things up. These scenes have a completely different vibe than the rest of the movie; they’re full of energy, wit, and unpredictability.
When there’s a chance to go into questions of identity and anxiety, “Dual” avoids them at every turn. Under Sarah’s nose, the “replacement” steals Peter. Peter gives a dreadful speech about how Sarah “let herself go” and how the other Sarah, the replacement Sarah, is far superior. Sarah frantically tries to “re-enter” her old life, but what really was so amazing about it? What binds Sarah to that existence? Anything?
Gillan is convincing in both roles, the harried emotional Sarah and the pert arrogant replacement. Yet there’s no feeling of the bizarreness of having a “you” running about out there. Does Sarah aspire to be the same as her stand-in? Is Sarah’s replacement envious of her? “Dual” is uninterested in such matters.
‘Dual’ (2022) Movie Ending Explained
Instead, it’s more focused in Sarah’s preparing to combat her doppelganger. Sarah and her substitute attend a strange support group for individuals in similar situations. The double gets up and gives a long speech about her feelings about Sarah and their “relationship.” However, we are unable to hear the speech. After that, we only hear Sarah explain it. It’s perplexing. The film keeps us at a distance. There’s nothing wrong with this, but it gives the impression of distance without taking up any additional room.
Sophia Takal’s “Always Shine,” for example, is a fascinating examination of doubling, in which two women merge, caught in a boundary-less relationship full of jealously and self-projection, wrath and want. “Dual” really doesn’t have much going on. Beyond the surface-level “who will win the duel?” scenario, the narrative’s intensity has been emptied.
There’s something unsettling about the prospect of someone who looks just like you traversing the planet. Even more terrifying is the prospect of your doppelganger entering and controlling your life. What options would you have if you were in this situation? Golyadkin’s doppelganger appears out of nowhere in St. Petersburg in Fyodor Dostoevsky’s tale The Double.
Golyadkin’s doppelganger, like Sarah in “Dual,” possesses the personal charm and social abilities that Golyadkin lacks. To be honest, everyone prefers the double to the original, and the double has no trouble dominating Golyadkin’s life. For Golyadkin, this is such a traumatic experience that he becomes insane.
“Dual” appears to want to go in that direction occasionally, but it avoids direct confrontation.