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Riley Stearns
Karen Gillan, Aaron Paul, Theo James
Riley Stearns

A woman opts for a cloning procedure after she receives a terminal diagnosis but when she recovers her attempts to have her clone decommissioned fail, leading to a court-mandated duel to the death.
Rated R.

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 94 min.
Price: $28.96
Release Date: 7/19/2022

• Audio Commentary with Writer/Director Riley Stearns
• “The Making of Dual” Featurette
• Previews


-LG OLED65C6P 65-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart OLED TV
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-Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player
-Chane A2.4 Speakers
-SVS SB12-NSD 12" 400-watt Sealed Box Subwoofer


Dual [Blu-Ray] (2022)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (July 12, 2022)

Across her 15 or so years in movies, Karen Gillan has achieved the most fame via supporting parts in the Guardians of the Galaxy and Jumanji movies. With 2022’s Dual, Gillan enjoys a lead role - or roles, as the film’s title proves literal.

Sarah (Gillan) receives a diagnosis of a terminal illness. To ease the suffering of her friends and family, she gets herself cloned.

However, Sarah makes a total recovery and tries to get her clone “decommissioned”. This proves more difficult than imagined and leads Sarah to face a battle against herself.

Again: literally. Dual goes for double meaning territory in terms of its title, as we find dual versions of Sarah and a tale that leads to a duel between the original and her duplicate.

This all seems clever and I admit the movie brings potential. Of course, we’ve gotten tales in which a character battles another version of himself/herself, but I still like the basic idea behind Dual.

With writer-director Riley Stearns involved, Dual offers a take on the topic different than I expected from the basic concept, though. When we last saw Stearns, he created 2019’s disappointing Art of Self-Defense, which I viewed as an art house version of Fight Club.

On one hand, I view Stearn’s POV as a positive since it means Dual avoids the cheesy genre trappings I expected. Though I liked the idea of the film, I admit I figured it would play as a straight action-thriller, so the quirky perspective came as a surprise.

On the other hand, Stearns remains a filmmaker firmly in the Wes Anderson mode. I don’t view that as a positive, especially since Stearns lacks the unique visual sensibility of Anderson.

Whereas the twee artifice of Anderson’s work grates, at least he musters creative cinematic creations. Based on Self-Defense and Dual, however, it appears that Stearns simply borrows Anderson’s approach to characters but not his flair for design domains.

This feels like a worst of both worlds. We get the annoyingly understated performances of an Anderson movie but without that director’s visual cleverness.

As a result, Dual gets tedious before long. Unsurprisingly, the first act works best, as the basic premise keeps us involved, and the deliberately underplayed characters don’t annoy us too much yet.

The relentlessly deadpan performances grow stale by the second act, though, especially because Stearns can’t find anything else to do with them. Dual feels stuck in neutral most of the time, as Stearns self-consciously avoids the trappings we’d normally get in what we expect to become an action flick.

Stearns remains more interested in quirky and odd interactions than a plot or character development. He actively attempts to subvert expectations, an approach that perversely backfires because we eventually expect the “unexpected”.

This means the surprises lack punch and just seem gratuitous. Too much of Dual feels clever for its own sake.

I appreciate that Dual wants to bring its own twist on it subject matter, and the film occasionally shows promise. However, it winds up too in love with its own sense of subversive cleverness and fails to become a consistently compelling project.

The Disc Grades: Picture B+/ Audio B/ Bonus B-

Dual appears in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. Across the board, this was an appealing transfer.

Sharpness looked fairly strong. Low-light interiors could seem a smidgen soft at times, but most of the film appeared accurate and well-defined.

Jagged edges and moiré effects remained absent, while edge haloes also failed to appear. Print flaws stayed absent as well.

Like most modern films of this sort, Dual went with teal and orange. These tones seemed predictable, but they worked fine within the movie’s design parameters and showed good delineation.

Blacks were dark and tight, while shadows showed nice clarity and smoothness. I thought this was a consistently positive image.

Though it looks like it’ll offer an action film, Dual came with a much stronger character focus, and the fairly subdued DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack demonstrated that. Not that the mix lacked any ambition, as it kicked to life during a few scenes.

Still, music became the dominant aspect of the mix, as the score filled the various channels. Environmental material offered a good sense of locations, so this became a pretty decent soundscape, if not one that felt impressive.

Audio quality always satisfied. Music was dynamic and full, and effects followed suit, so those components came across as accurate and well-developed.

Speech seemed distinctive and crisp, without edginess or other issues. Though not especially involving overall, the soundtrack suited the film.

We get an audio commentary from writer/director Riley Stearns. He brings a running, screen-specific look at story/characters, sets and locations, music, cast and performances, shooting during COVID, editing and photography, various effects, the movie's tone, and related topics.

We get a pretty informative commentary here. Stearns covers the expected topics and keeps us engaged through this insightful discussion.

The Making of Dual runs nine minutes, 49 seconds and offers notes from Stearns, producer Aram Tertzakian, director of photography Michael Ragan, and actors Karen Gillan, Aaron Paul, Beulah Koale and Theo James.

The featurette covers story and characters, cast and performances, shooting in Finland, various effects, filming during a pandemic, and the movie’s philosophical concepts. Though brief, this becomes a reasonably concise little overview.

The disc opens with ads for Prisoners of the Ghostland, Terminal, and Mayhem. No trailer for Dual appears here.

Dual takes an action/sci-fi concept and turns it on its ear. While I appreciate the unconventional path in theory, the execution falters. The Blu-ray comes with solid visuals, acceptable audio and a few bonus materials. I like that Dual subverts genre expectations but think it tries too hard to be clever for its own good.

Viewer Film Ratings: 2 Stars Number of Votes: 1
0 3:
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