The film “Twin” is a darkly comic clone drama starring Karen Gillan

Yoshiko Yap
(3 stars)

Set in a in close proximity to long run that appears a large amount like the present, the science-fiction drama “Dual,” from writer-director Riley Stearns (“The Artwork of Self-Defense”), options such misfortunes as terminal health issues, ugly kitchen incidents and the murder of a canine.

Did I mention it’s a comedy?

Karen Gillan (“Guardians of the Galaxy”) stars as Sarah, a younger female who contracts a exceptional, incurable condition that presents her only a 2 p.c opportunity of survival. Even just before this health-related setback, her everyday living wasn’t great: With her boyfriend Peter (Beulah Koale) away on a distant get the job done assignment, she’s used her by itself time observing porn and ingesting generic alcoholic beverages from bottles labeled “whisky” and “IPA.”

So when a health care provider tells Sarah she’s heading to die in a matter of months, her remedy is not that astonishing: “Why are not I crying?

Sarah is supplied a likelihood to carry on — right after a vogue — by signifies of a “replacement.” The technique is high priced but easy: Spit into a check tube, and one particular hour later on your clone appears, prepared to be qualified in the aspects of your existence, “so your beloved types never have to undergo the decline of you.”

“Here’s a pamphlet,” Sarah’s health practitioner suggests.

“Dual” is a horrific cautionary tale, but it performs out with darkish humor. The macabre way of storytelling (and the closely accented English of a lot of the supporting solid, which is largely Finnish) echoes the stilted dialogue and storylines of Greek director Yorgos Lanthimos (“The Killing of a Sacred Deer”). But Stearns’s tone is drier, funnier — and, ultimately, warmer.

Sarah goes via with the treatment, but there’s a capture — or two. Her boyfriend and mother both like Sarah’s clone (also performed by Gillan) extra than they do Sarah. On leading of that, Sarah goes into remission. In a scenario like that, when both the “original” and the cloned double want to keep alive, it is mandated that they confront every single other in a televised duel to the loss of life. Unprepared to battle for her daily life, Sarah hires fight trainer Trent (Aaron Paul) to enable her practice for the climactic battle.

The premise implies a hybrid of Todd Haynes’s 1995 psychological drama “Safe” — about a housewife (Julianne Moore) who suffers a mysterious illness — and the Hunger Game titles franchise.

What distinguishes “Dual” is its tone of droll gallows humor. This strategy isn’t for everyone it can take a sure sensibility to obtain amusement in a gory (and hilarious) instruction video clip termed “You Usually Kill the Types You Enjoy.” But Stearns also has a playful facet, enrolling Sarah in a goofy hip-hop dance course to go the time ahead of her fateful duel.

The supporting forged is all in tune with the film’s peculiar rhythms. But in her twin roles, Gillan can make the film her personal, taking part in a divided self with sly restraint. At very first, Sarah’s double is a little bit perkier than she is, but Sarah will come into her own as she learns how to defend herself, and in an especially challenging closing act, it will become harder to distinguish who is the authentic and who is the clone.

Like “Blade Runner,” a more formidable science fiction movie that phone calls its humanoid creations “replicants,” “Dual” at its main asks what it is to be human. But Gillan’s chilling performance invitations a far more troubling dilemma. When Sarah tells her double, “I like all sorts of audio, specially pop, rock and hip-hop,” she reveals no emotion or enthusiasm, providing simply a rote repetition of specifics. Is she just as programmable as her clone?

Cinematographer Michael Ragen originally bathes a great deal of “Dual” in a palette of chilly, clinical gentle. But as Sarah will get further into schooling and gains self-confidence, her environment change to hotter tones that show she’s getting much more alive. (The seem of these scenes recollects director Bernardo Bertolucci’s insistence that the reds, oranges and flesh tones of “Last Tango in Paris” surface “uterine.”) “Dual” usually takes awhile to get into gear, ending on an unresolved note. But it’s a amusing and provocative wrestle around the indicating of existence.

R. At spot theaters readily available May perhaps 20 on need. Incorporates violence, some sexual materials, solid language and graphic nudity. 94 minutes.

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