Written by: Henry Tucker
Director: Benedek Filegauf
Writer: Benedek Filegauf
Starring: Matt Smith, Eva Green, Lesley Manville, Peter Wright, Istvan Lenart
Producers: Marc Baschet, Peter Hermann, Cédomir Kolar
Running time: 111 minutes
With a star cast, a potentially interesting setting and story, on paper Clone has a lot going for it. Unfortunately it’s not on paper.
Clone (a.k.a. Womb) stars Doctor Who Matt Smith and Eva Green, James Bond’s love interest from Casino Royale and is on the whole a beautiful but ultimately dull film.
The setting is a non-specific place where humanity has worked out how to make clones of people, who are called copies. However, although this may sound like perhaps an OK idea for us, in this version of earth they are shunned by originals and treated almost as second class citizens.
Clone starts out with two children: Tommy and Rebecca meeting during a summer break and becoming instant friends. Just as their friendship begins to blossom Rebecca has to leave as her mother has a job in Japan.
The story picks up when a lady (Eva Green) arrives in the same seaside town where the two children met and played. She is looking for someone called Tommy (Matt Smith). It turns out she is Rebecca and time has passed and the two friends are now grown up. Unlike many films this isn’t explained in any way, it doesn’t say 12 years later on screen, which is fine as it is pretty obvious.
The two old friends soon pick up where they left off and it turns out that grown up Tommy is a bit of an activist and Rebecca joins him on a trip to cause some minor mayhem. However, they don’t make it to their destination as tragedy ensues.
I won’t say anymore as that would give too much away. However, following this Rebecca decides to have a clone of Tommy and raise him as her son. She does this and things go well when he is young, but start to get complicated as Tommy becomes a man.
It is this part that writer/director Benedek Filegauf obviously wanted to be the heart of the film. It is supposed to examine the conflict that Rebecca would surely feel for a person who she once loved, then gave birth to and subsequently raised. The trouble is much of this section of the film consists of mini-scenes that don’t make a great deal of sense and also don’t flow that well together either. Tommy has a girlfriend and this clearly doesn’t sit well with Rebecca who spends a lot of time lying in bed either awake or pretending to be asleep. There is very little dialogue between Rebecca and Tommy and time ticks by very slowly with lots of wide shots of the stunning area in which it was filmed.
Clone has the feel of a central European film, not surprising seeing as director Benedek Filegauf is Hungarian and the entire crew sound as though they may well Hungarian too. As I have said Clone boasts lots of panoramic shots of the area where Tommy lives, it was filmed on Germany’s Baltic coast, and Rebecca lives in a wooden beach hut.
Now I am rarely a fan of back stories in films as they are usually only filler, however, I think that Clone could have done with some in order to give it context. As a viewer I was left to wonder when and where it is set and why the clones are so reviled.
Clone just feels like a try hard film. The director clearly wanted to make a thinking sci-fi film that was deep and thought provoking. What he has ended up with is a not very interesting film with a few good bits. In fact I found the film so soporific that when something actually happened if had to rewind it to catch it.
Review by Henry Tucker