March 4, 2011

The Clone Returns Home (Kanji Nakajima, 2008)



WHAT IT IS: After his accidental death during a mission in outer space, Kohei Takahara, an astronaut, is cloned in order to continue the mission. But the clone, fixating on a traumatic childhood memory of the original Kohei, goes AWOL and attempts to return to ‘his’ childhood home.

HOW IT IS: Although the premise seemed conducive to the movie becoming a welcomed addition to the minimalist cerebral sci-fi genre, and it was produced by notable German filmmaker Wim Wenders known for thought-provoking films like the poetic Wings of Desire (1987) and the road-movie Paris, Texas (1984), The Clone Returns Home eventually turned out to be wholly disappointing.

The Clone Returns Home is a two-hour light philosophical attempt at existentialist angst, mostly imitating the best directors of the genre (like Kubrick or Tarkovsky) instead of bringing its own ideas and its own perspective to the mix, never trying hard enough or reaching far enough, failing to live up to the legacy of classic sci-fi films, barely even scratching the surface of the ethical minefield of human cloning.

Although visually stunning, The Clone Returns Home is tedious, long-winded and monotonous. Littered with missed opportunities, the movie fades from memory as soon as the credits start rolling.

IF YOU LIKE: Minimalist cerebral sci-fi like Gattaca, 1984, Code 46, Stalker, A Clockwork Orange and Moon.