BRAND NEW-U

PrintE-mail Written by Joel Harley

Ignore the rotten title, what we have here is a twisty, tricksy British sci-fi thriller that's far smarter than its txt spk might suggest. When armed men break into their home and either kidnap or murder Slater's girlfriend (it's hard to tell which) the confused young man is thrown into the midst of a vast conspiracy spanning several lives and identities.

Like a more dour Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind crossed with a less witty episode of Black Mirror, this homespun thriller has plenty of ambition and some impressively nifty visuals to back up its story. Identity is the name of the game here, Brand New-U selling us the idea of a world in which it is possible to 'upgrade' one's life, slipping into new personalities and switching with dopplegangers (or 'Identicals') into entirely new lives. It's here Slater goes (Lachlan Nieboer), pursuing Nadia (Nora-Jane Noone – considerably less Irish than she was in The Descent) across parallel lives – threatening to ruin everything for himself, her and Brand New-U in the process.

It's portentous filmmaking, and can be difficult to keep up with at times. It looks first-rate, but the characters are impossible to connect with, beyond Slater, who just shouts all of the time. Familiar faces pop up in the shape of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D's Nick Blood (albeit very briefly) and Tony Way, who lends the film its creepiest sequence as a threatening Santa Claus.

Like last year's The Machine, this is a British genre piece with heart and a brain. The latter does tend to outweigh the former more often than not, making it a difficult piece to like, but its dedication to the cause is appreciated, nevertheless.

INFO: BRAND NEW-U / DIRECTOR & SCREENPLAY: SIMON PUMMELL / STARRING: NORA-JANE NOONE, TONY WAY, LACHLAN NIEBOER, NICK BLOOD / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW


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