In a future world, young people are increasingly becoming addicted to an illegal (and potentially deadly) battle simulation game called Avalon. When Ash, a star player, hears of rumors that... See full summary »
The career of a disillusioned producer, who is desperate for a hit, is endangered when his star walks off the film set. Forced to think fast, the producer decides to digitally create an actress "Simone" to sub for the star--the first totally believable synthetic actress. The "actress" becomes an overnight sensation, with a major singing career as well, and everyone thinks she's a real person. However, as Simone's fame skyrockets, he cannot bear to admit his fraud to himself or the world. Written by
Sujit R. Varma
The cult of celebrity is brilliantly examined in Andrew Niccol's `Simone.' Al Pacino plays a washed-up `art film' director who is fed up with the spoiled leading ladies with whom he has to work. After his latest leading lady (Winona Ryder in an excellent performance) walks out before the end of production, Pacino is left with an unreleasable film. He is approached by an adoring fan, a `computer geek' dying from cancer, who offers him a solution to his difficulties. Pacino rejects the offer, but the geek sends him a computer disk containing `Simulation One.' When Pacino activates the disk, up pops a stunningly beautiful female,' who is a programmable simulation. Pacino adds personality ingredients from famous actresses of the past, and, viola, `Simone' is created.
Inserting Simone's image and voice into Ryder's footage, Pacino completes his film. However, Pacino's work is overshadowed by his creation. Simone becomes a world famous celebrity, a cult goddess.
Combining the cult celebrity of Garbo, Princess Di, Farrah Fawcett and Pamela Anderson, with maybe a little Britney Spears thrown in, Andrew Niccol has created a sharp satire of hero worship. Lacking an ego, Simone is the projection of everyone's desires; men want her and women want to be like her. Even more fascinating is Pacino's revelation that he is jealous of his creation, even when he has no need to be. Niccol sustains his sharp satire of celebrity until the very end of the movie.
Where `Simone' stumbles is its flat romance between Pacino and his former wife, Christine Keener. I'm sorry, but for me Keener lacks anything resembling sex appeal. Had this role been given to Kim Basinger, Rita Wilson, Cybil Shepherd, Ellen Barkin or Lauren Hutton, the `younger beauty/aging beauty pathos could have been examined. As it stands, `Simone' lacks the kind of conflict which could have given it real spark. Nonetheless, `Simone' is a fun, funny movie and is definitely worth seeing. I give `Simone' a `7'.
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