30th Apr2019

‘Replicas’ Review

by Jak-Luke Sharp

Stars: Keanu Reeves, Alice Eve, Emily Alyn Lind, Thomas Middleditch, John Ortiz, Emjay Anthony, Aria Lyric Leabu, Nyasha Hatendi, Amber Rivera | Written by Stephen Hamel, Chad St. John | Directed by Jeffrey Nachmanoff


Replicas, directed by Jeffrey Nachmanoff, stars Keanu Reeves as a scientist who, in the midst of bringing consciousness to A.I., loses his wife and three kids in a tragic car accident that results in an obsession to collide his personal life with his work and be reunited with the family he lost. The concept is engaging but the execution in Replicas is sadly incredibly poor with a flat narrative.

The screenplay from writers Stephen Hamel and Chad St. John is condensed to trope after trope and only the final scene leaves any form of intrigue, but it comes far too late with lacklustre uneventful proceedings before. The plot itself is mildly interesting with emotionally compelling rhythm and plot device to resonate with its audience. Yet the affair itself stagnates in a dullness in regard to how they stretch this narrative from A to B. There isn’t any tension of atmosphere felt with Reeves character Will Foster monumental decision, or the jeopardy he puts himself, or his family into, and if anything, its actually played for laughs more so than dramatic incentive to cause emotional response. By the time the third act catches you up, it all becomes just a bit too silly for its own good. Conversations on ethical values or capitalistic ventures are thrown in to for more weight, but it doesn’t feel in any way organic to what we’ve been prescribed beforehand and ultimately thrown in for an attempt at a last-ditch effort of a methodical question of what’s right or wrong.

As performances go, Reeves evokes what he can in a balance of ability `and questionable material at hand. The emotional depth is fleeting and therefore the film fails to provide substantial weight for his predicament, but that’s the basis of the picture and when the engine misfires and fails to start the wheels don’t move and you’re stuck, both figuratively and literally in this case. The performance by Alice Eve is non-existent as Mona Foster. Her performance is inadequate and so poorly realised with such a stoic and borderline empty embodiment you’re often struggling to find any reasoning to care or engage with such a character in a frightening predicament. To Eve’s credit, she isn’t given anything to work with and the results are always going to be slightly negative to that degree but unlike Reeves, you’re never left with an inch of inkling that Eve actually brings anything to the table.

All in all, it’s just an incredibly drab and predictable conventional sci-fi picture that adds nothing in terms of interest for its audience on an entertainment standpoint or cinematically speaking. The narrative is far too highbrow for the budget and range of what the writers intended, and the resulting outcome is conveyed in cheapness with all methodical questions abandoned at the first sign of resistance.

Replicas is on DVD, Blu-ray and Digital now from Lionsgate.


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