This Week’s Podcast: ‘Dual,’ ‘South Park’ Reviews; Weekend Box Office Report

On this week’s episode of the Media Play News podcast, hosts Charles Parkman and Charlie Showley cover the sleeper sci-fi film Dual, starring Karen Gillan and Aaron Paul. Gillan plays two parts simultaneously, the protagonist of the movie and the clone of said protagonist. It’s an interesting premise that didn’t get much attention when it was originally released. Following up is a review of both parts of South Park: The Streaming Wars, which touches (or beats the viewer over the head with) the absurdity of studios creating content for multiple streaming platforms. In typical South Park fashion, it’s done in hilarious and creative ways. (Both reviews are written by John Latchem.)
 
Lastly, in the weekend box office numbers, Jordan Peele’s third film, Nope, debuted in the No. 1 spot, the first film to unseat Thor: Love and Thunder as the weekend’s top grossing feature
 
Keep an eye on the podcast feed for our upcoming special report from 2022’s Comic-Con!

Dual

BLU-RAY REVIEW:

RLJE Films;
Sci-Fi Comedy;
Box Office $0.19 million;
$27.97 DVD, $28.96 Blu-ray;
Rated ‘R’ for violent content, some sexual content, language and graphic nudity.
Stars Karen Gillan, Aaron Paul, Theo James, Beulah Koale, Maija Paunio, Sanna-June Hyde.

Writer-director Riley Stearns’ Dual presents an offbeat satire about the nature of identity.

The film is set in a near-future world where nearly everyone speaks with the same kind of droll precision as the characters from American Psycho. Scientific advancements have led to a rapid form of cloning, giving rise to a new industry that allows terminally ill people to duplicate themselves before they die, allowing their clones to live out their lives and minimizing the distress on their loved ones.

The catch is that if the dying person doesn’t die, the clone will either be destroyed or, if it has lived long enough, it can request a form of asylum that calls for the person to duel the clone to the death, with the survivor earning the rights to the disputed persona.

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Karen Gillan plays Sarah, who is told she has an incurable disease with a 98% chance of dying. Sarah decides to play the clone card to ease the pain of her potential death on her boyfriend and mother. Sarah and her double seem to get along fine at first, but then 10 months pass, and Sarah remains alive. In the interim, subtle personality differences in Sarah’s Double have led Sarah’s boyfriend to leave her for the double. Sarah turns out to be one of the 2% the disease doesn’t kill, but when she vows to have her clone eliminated out of jealousy, Sarah’s Double files for the right to live, setting up a fight to the death in a year.

Stunned by these developments, Sarah prepares for the dual by hiring a trainer (Aaron Paul) who specializes in clone combat rituals. Their workouts evoke the spirit of a low-rent Hunger Games.

Gillan gives a fantastically understated performance as both world-weary Sarah and the eager to take over double. Paul is equally fun to watch as the bargain-basement trainer, mostly because he’s the primary source of exposition to see the inventive paths Stearns has taken in developing the film’s premise.

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Stearns’ matter-of-fact approach to the material can seem off-putting at times, but the film clearly derives much of its humor from the casual apathy of this society toward the premise and everything embodied by it. One of its darker ideas involves people getting clones because they’re ultra-depressed and intend to kill themselves so the clone can take over their lives.

The Blu-ray includes a 10-minute behind-the-scenes featurette and an insightful commentary from Stearns in which he mostly sings the praises of his cast and about the benefits of filming in Finland.