On the day that a serial killer that he helped put away is supposed to be executed, a noted forensic psychologist and college professor receives a call informing him that he has 88 minutes left to live.
In 16th century Venice, when a merchant must default on a large loan from an abused Jewish moneylender for a friend with romantic ambitions, the bitterly vengeful creditor demands a gruesome payment instead.
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
In the beginning of the movie, Viktor Taransky (Al Pacino) is removing all the red candies from a bowl of assorted colored candies. He subsequently has a heated conversation with Winona Ryder's character. As a demanding actress her contract specifies that she has the largest trailer on the set, she must always be provided with these candies sans the red ones. This is a reference to a 1982 contract rider for the rock group Van Halen, who required that they be provided with specific foods and drinks. This included a bowl of M&Ms with all the brown ones removed. The removal of the candies wasn't itself important, but was instead a test by the band to see if the contract had been thoroughly read and executed exactly as instructed. This was to ensure the safety of the band, crew and fans at the concert. See more »
Viktor is shown inserting Hank Aleno's hard drive into Viktor's PC by simply laying it down inside a tray, in the same way that one inserts a CD or DVD into a PC. While removable hard disks do exist, they work nothing like this. All hard disks have power and data plugs along one side that require a fair amount of force to plug in. See more »
After the credits finish, there is a scene with Victor using a camcorder in a supermarket. He pulls a cart along with a string and films it moving "by itself", he pushes it and then follows it filming, he walks up to various products and tosses them into the cart, filming everything from various angles. This is followed by the "completed" shot of Simone, casually making her shopping selections. Finally, we see the Echo Magazine reporter, watching Simone shopping on TV. He sighs, and says, "She likes chicken pot pie. Just like me." See more »
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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