Cast: Keanu Reeves, Alice Eve, Thomas Middleton, John Ortiz, Emily Alyn Lind, Emjay Anthony, Aria Lyric Leabu
Director: Jeffrey Nachmanoff
Rating: * * *
Bio-engineering is common enough today, and this sci-fi thriller entertains viewers with a tale of scientists who assume God-like dimensions. Starring Keanu Reeves as bio-medical researcher John Williams, the film skirts ethical questions and slides into commerce fuelled conspiracies.
Williams is not the archetypal mad or evil scientist, but a grieving man who is unable to come to terms with horrific loss. And so, with the help of a reluctant colleague Ed Whittle (Thomas Middleton) he creates clones in the laboratory after several false starts. Admittedly, human beings (and the natural world) are imbued with different levels of consciousness. A dog is conscious in a way that a fish is not. And a human is conscious in a way that dog is not. But can scientists then develop truly conscious copies?
This ignoramus thinks not even as the film shows that mental data can be injected into robots (and memories erased) following in the footsteps of 18th century giants like H G Wells and Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley not to speak of modern sci-fi writers like Philip K Dick, who wrote prophetically of scientific experiments and self-aware androids.
In the film under review, there are a couple of interesting scenes involving Williams’s wife, Mona (Alice Eve) who asks whether humans are simply a collection of cells or more than that. Dr Williams’s replicas aren’t Frankensteins. But whether they are encoded with a conscience, only a more thoughtful sequel may tell.