Home Music therapy Mahershala Ali’s Apple TV offering is dark, slow-burning, even heavy in parts-Entertainment...

Mahershala Ali’s Apple TV offering is dark, slow-burning, even heavy in parts-Entertainment News, Firstpost


Some scenes are filled with vast expanses of gloomy silence. What makes it work is the performances, led by a seductive dual role of Mahershala Ali.

A cross section of science fiction across the media is devoted to the idea of ​​getting around mortality, extending life, or having some sort of overhaul. Think about the number of recent projects that involved some form of eternal recurrence: that of Natasha Lyonne Russian doll, the star of Andy Samberg Palm springs et al. Kazuo Ishiguro’s novel Never let Me Go, the recent Amazon Prime series To download, the Netflix series Altered carbon – these are just a few examples where the story explores ethical dilemmas around cloning, or something quite close to cloning. At the heart of every story is a bold but, as we learn, ultimately misguided attempt to subvert the natural order of life and death, which leads to serious emotional issues among the protagonists.

The impressive debut feature by Benjamin Cleary Swan song establishes a similar premise: In the near future, Cameron (Mahershala Ali) is a terminally ill artist and graphic designer who enlists a secret hospice and research facility run by Dr. Scott (Glenn Close). The modus operandi of Dr. Scott’s small operation is ingenious: they “molecularly regenerate” a terminally ill person, with their memories (even unconscious or repressed) and their ways. The clone meets the original but the memory of this encounter is erased. And one night, just like that, the clone takes over the life of the original, while the latter spends his days in the hospice, which is set in a wild and beautiful nature (the film was shot in the vicinity of Vancouver ).

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Oh, and you can even watch the clone “become” you, slip into your family’s life, thanks to the cameras staring into the clone’s eyes. Wearable technology is, in general, a big issue in Cleary’s vision for the near future: most notably, some sort of air capsule that everyone wears and the aforementioned voice-activated operating system. Cleary does a great job using these small but crucial details – the world-building seems to be organic and never relies too much on exposure.

The move is supposed to be “nicer” for your family because they don’t know the difference. They don’t know you’ve been replaced by a clone. But, as Cameron finds out after going through the process, it’s not easy to keep the peace when you watch your lookalike interact with your family. “Jack” (the Cameron clone, which was named by Dr. Scott) fits into the lives of Scott’s wife, Poppy (Naomie Harris) and her son. Soon Cameron begins to have a series of doubts that reflect the different stages of dealing with Jack’s existence – denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.

Swan song is a dark, slow-burning, even heavy film in several parts. Some scenes are filled with vast expanses of gloomy silence. What makes it work is the performances, led by a seductive dual role of Mahershala Ali.

As Cameron, he’s a little sad sap, which only comes alive when he’s with Poppy or at her sketchbook (which he, we learn, gave up after the death of his beau -Brother André in a road accident). Like Jack, he’s even more impressive, a response to the “evil twin” stereotype in sci-fi tales.

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The rest of the cast also supports its ending; Glenn Close is reliable and brilliant as Dr. Scott, icy but strategically compassionate. Awkwafina plays the guy as moody and humorous Kate, a woman Cameron meets at the hospice, someone who has undergone the procedure and is also depressed at the sight of their replacement clone. Naomie Harris is stuck in a one-note character but does well. Poppy feels both underwritten and underwritten, strangely enough: perhaps that’s because one of the few details of her life that is presented to us is that she teaches children with disabilities. learning… with music therapy. I mean, I understand we’re supposed to feel Cameron’s pain of losing her, but I think it can be achieved without making the character downright smug.

I’ve enjoyed several lo-fi sci-fi movies lately – the low-budget sci-fi story, following the dominance of IP-driven films, feels like a statement of artistic protest. Think The immensity of the night Where Moon or the old classic by Shane Carruth Upstream color. They are all very different from each other and none of them follow Hollywood role models (except when doing so in conversation with them). Swan song joined the ranks of those films with a tearful for the ages.

Evaluation: 3/5

The film is streaming on Apple TV +.

Aditya Mani Jha is a Delhi-based freelance writer and journalist who is currently working on an essay book on Indian comics and graphic novels.

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