Director: Riley Stearns
Cast: Karen Gillan, Aaron Paul, Beulah Koale
Release Date: July 19, 2022
A Review By: Kevin Lovell
Film Rating: 8.5/10
Disc Rating: 7/10
In DUAL, upon receiving a terminal diagnosis, Sarah (Karen Gillan) opts for a cloning procedure to ease her loss on her friends and family. When she makes a sudden and miraculous recovery, her attempts to have her clone decommissioned fail and lead to a court-mandated duel to the death. Now she has one year to train her body and mind for the fight of her life.
Please Note: RLJE Films provided me with a free copy of the Blu-ray I reviewed in this Post. The opinions I share are my own.
‘Dual’ follows Sarah (Gillan) who after being diagnosed with an unknown terminal disease opts for having herself cloned in order to help her loved ones through the loss. But when her impossible chances of recovery suddenly become a reality and she finds herself healthy and no longer ill, she attempts to have her clone decommissioned. Unfortunately she soon discovers that her clone doesn’t want to be removed so easily and she is confronted with a court decision requiring her to have a duel to the death with her clone in one year to decide who will take over the life of Sarah. Now she’ll have to get over her distaste of violence and train for combat if she hopes to have any chance of keeping her life.
Written and directed by Riley Stearns (The Art of Self-Defense, Faults) who does a solid job at the helm of ‘Dual’ guiding the intriguing and humorously off-beat tale along with care. The film also benefits from a capable cast that includes Karen Gillan (Jumanji: The Next Level), Aaron Paul (TV’s Westworld), Beulah Koale (TV’s Hawaii Five-0), Theo James (TV’s The Time Traveler’s Wife) and more, with the majority each offering solid and fitting performances for the most part in their respective roles, especially Gillan and Paul who both tend to steal the show with their amusing and intentionally deadpan performances.
‘Dual’ is a strange, oddly humorous and often over the top look at a slightly different future and the ridiculous nature of humanity shown in its most inane form. Imagine a world where if you’re dying you can have a physical clone of yourself made, yet without the memories and other key elements of yourself that go with it; then imagine if you miraculously recover and your clone decides it wants to live which results in the courts making the two of you fight to the death in order to determine which will have the opportunity to continue your life. That’s exactly the world ‘Dual’ takes place within and while dreary and bleak in its own right, it approaches this troubling subject matter with an intriguingly tongue in cheek style that pokes fun at the insanity of it while eliciting countless laughs thanks to its dry and truly black sense of humor.
It’s a film that doesn’t play by many of the typical rules of cinema and it excels as a result, allowing the viewer to go on this ride with our lead as filmmaker Riley Stearns tackles much of the activity in manner that doesn’t always leave us in the dark, instead often taking big moments and showcasing them to us before hand in order to let us experience and appreciate the result from a different perspective than we’re typically familiar with. It’s strange, peculiar and darkly funny, but for those who truly appreciate a film that’s drastically different from the general norm, then ‘Dual’ will almost surely be something that you’ll appreciate. If it already has your attention then I would strongly encourage giving it a whirl whenever possible.
Overall, ‘Dual’ is a smart, curious and strangely hilarious tale that never hesitates to go to some odd places and deliver an unorthodox yet no less enjoyable tale of one woman’s quest to reclaim her life. A refreshingly unique, dry and darkly humorous tale that takes a style and approach off the more standard path and dares to offer something unconventional in this world often primarily interested in familiarity and nostalgia. ‘Dual’ is definitely recommended, especially if you’re a fan of the key cast and/or filmmaker Riley Stearns. It’s definitely not a film for anyone and its dry and often somewhat morbid sense of humor may not appeal to some, but for those who appreciate an unusual and clever tale that isn’t afraid to go to some interesting places this one should be right up your alley. If you’re already at all intrigued by this one then it should prove worthy of your time and the cost of a rental.
The Blu-ray release of ‘Dual’ features a full 1080p High Definition presentation with the film’s original 1.85:1 Aspect Ratio. The video presentation looks good as a whole and provides a clean, smooth and altogether problem free video presentation from start to finish, accurately capturing some of the film’s duller tones and colors. It holds up admirably even during the various darkly lit and occasional fast moving moments throughout and never allows anything occurring onscreen to become troublesome or noticeably problematic. Overall, this is a solid high definition video presentation that delivers nicely and should please both first time viewers and fans.
The Blu-ray release features a 5.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. This multichannel soundtrack does its job well and offers a clean, well balanced and occasionally somewhat aggressive audio presentation throughout. It utilizes all five available channels in order to send some minor action effects, plus music, crowd chatter and more throughout the various speakers whenever fitting and never allowing any of it to conflict with any dialogue or other primary audio elements that might be occurring simultaneously. Overall, this is a fully capable 5.1 DTS-HD MA soundtrack that delivers in every way required of it without any issues arising along the way.
The Blu-ray release of ‘Dual’ includes a couple of notable extras. Included on the release is a ‘Director Audio Commentary with Riley Stearns’, in addition to the Behind the Scenes Featurette ‘The Making of Dual’ (running approximately 10 minutes in length) which features interviews/comments with the cast and crew, plus behind the scenes footage and more.
*Please note that the above images are taken from the Blu-Ray and resized. They will additionally suffer quality loss as a result of .jpg compression. Larger versions of each image can be viewed by clicking on the image. All images and content included on this Blu-Ray release are the property of their respective owners.
Film Rating: 8.5/10
Disc Rating: 7/10
‘Dual’ is Now Available to Own on Blu-ray, DVD & Digital from XYZ Films & RLJE Films
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