‘Dual’ | Sundance 2022 Review

Directed By:

Riley Stearns

Written By:

Riley Stearns


Karen Gillan, Aaron Paul, Beulah Koale


Action, Drama, Sci-Fi

Rated: PG-13 for some violence and strong language

Sarah has been diagnosed with a terminal illness. After hearing the diagnosis, Sarah is presented with the option to clone herself, and have the clone take over her life after she passes. This procedure requires Sarah to assist in educating and training her clone to become her after she passes. But after hearing life changing news, Sarah now sees her clone as no longer necessary, but terminating the clone is easier said than done, in this quirky Sci-Fi comedy that tries to balance the bleak story with humor.

Sci-Fi films with cloning storylines typically take a very serious tone. The clone arrives, chaos ensues, philosophical questions about what identity and life is, ending with either acceptance of the clone or destruction of one or the other. While ‘Dual’ does follow a similar theme as far as cloning is concerned, it’s in the off-beat comedic tone that separates it from the herd.

Karen Gillan and Aaron Paul are both great actors, and they do the most they possibly can with this film. I do think they have good chemistry with each other, and Karen playing against herself was very well done as well. Particularly one scene involving her and her clone hashing out the scenario of which they plan to choose who stays alive or not. The world ‘Dual’ inhabits have set rules of cloning, and there are rights that your clone has if you decide to withdraw from the process. Where those moments are explored, for me, are the strongest points of the movie.

I honestly cannot say I liked this tone. Not because I can’t enjoy humor in my Sci-Fi, but because of the dull writing of every character. For a film about cloning, everyone feels more like a robot than anything else if you’re only judging the dialogue. I’m on the outside of this because what I consider to be the biggest problem with the film many critics seemed to view as it’s strongest asset. But anytime they went for humor, it fell completely flat for me.

Overall, ‘Dual’ is moderately successful but isn’t one I want to revisit anytime soon. There are great actors involved with an interesting premise, but the execution just doesn’t work for me.

Rating: 5 out of 10.
Patrick Beatty
Patrick Beatty

Patrick Beatty is a film critic and creator of PatrickBeattyReviews.com and the Gaggle of Geeks Podcast network. Watch him Friday’s on ABC4 Good Things Utah talk about movies and follow all his work in the link below.

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