The Reconstruction of William Zero Movie Review
Written by Richelle Charkot
DVD released by FilmBuff
Directed by Dan Bush
Written by Dan Bush and Conal Byrne
2014, 98 minutes, Not rated
DVD released on April 10th, 2015
Conal Byrne as William/Edward/William Zero
Amy Seimetz as Jules
Melissa McBride as Dr. Ashley Bronson
Adam Fristoe as Dr. Langley
Tim Habeger as Dr. Archer
A sad movie is only made sadder when it comes so close to being a really good sad movie and just falls short to the bronze medal platform of being really underwhelming. The Reconstruction of William Zero starring Conal Byrne as William, Edward and William Zero, explores the age-old narrative of mad scientist. After an accident that destroys his family dynamic, our geneticist lead William decides to clone himself. The film goes on to figuratively and literally depict someone who is too overcome by grief to 'go it alone' so to speak.
Awaking from a comatose state confused and entirely lacking any memory of who he is, William Blakely first sees what he assumes to be his twin brother, who slowly eases him into the information of what has happened before his coma. Blakely is informed that he had carelessly backed his car into his young son, which killed him, causing an irreparable tear between him and his wife, Jules (Amy Seimetz). This accident causes him to experiment with the cloning technology that has been used in the laboratory where he works. I abstain from revealing anything further in the plot at risk of exposing spoilers in this twist-filled storyline, but it continues on the Philip K. Dick-esque theme of questioning reality when clones are granted memory and furthermore, grief.
Although kudos is deserved for the efforts that Bush and Byrne attempt in this script, being that it is rich with symbolism and a tender family drama, it feels like it bites off more than it can chew. With so many new developments throughout the story, it quickly reaches a point where it becomes disengaging and loses whatever hook it had in its audience. Regardless of the fact that it is peppered with genuinely moving scenes that work well with what the assumed tone of the film should be, such as the obviously symbolic and sweet moment in the final few minutes, it frequently uses easily predictable foreshadowing which weakens the overall effect and takes away from its quality. Alongside feeling like it is too much plot jammed into a movie that is just over 90 minutes, it features one of my absolute pet peeves, which is showing home video footage of the female love interest as she coyly looks over her shoulder and smiles at the camera then lets out a toothy laugh, to show that she is the object of utmost desire.
The Reconstruction of William Zero is definitely beyond the scope of its timeframe, but it is rooted in relatable themes that are accessible and easy to understand. Should we feel sympathy for a clone whose existence is to offset a terrible burden? Haven't we all felt like we wanted to separate into multiple beings to carry the heavy load of daily life?