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Charlie discovers he is dying and drives from Portland to West Virginia in hopes to put closure to a horrific incident from his past, but discovers there is much more waiting for him there than he bargained for.
The premise of this story is very promising - a thriller based on the concept of an apparent twin who turns out not to be all he, at first, thinks he is.
At the risk of not wanting to spoil the movie, I won't say more about how things turn round, but the focus is always on the lead actor, Conal Byrne, who has to play William and William Zero and another allied character with enough distinction between the three that you can keep up with exactly which one he is meant to be.
Thankfully Conal is up to the task and switches characters enough to be identifiably 'different' until the last chapter of the movie when the distinctions deliberately become blurred. As William Zero he has to appear practically clueless as to what is happening to him in the beginning and he almost pulls this off.
Unfortunately the script advances too quickly for us to get a real feeling for the dilemma in which he finds himself and the progression, from what seems to be amnesia to the dawning of understanding exactly what he is, happens abruptly and without enough reaction to be credible.
Similarly the reactions of the other characters in this story are also hurried and, therefore, appear unrealistic. Amy Seimetz, as the (ex) wife, does her best but isn't given enough dialog to carry through her predicament. In the end her conversion to the version of reality that she sees is too sudden and hardly seems in character.
Overall I felt the screenplay was generally too predictable at times, whilst leaving a lot of questions unanswered at others (presumably to try and engender a feeling of mystery). There are twists and turns in the plot which, with better direction or a superior screenplay, could have been more entertaining, even shocking.
The denouement is laughably simple (and requires another improbable leap of faith) and turns out to be what you might have been expecting all along. Of course there's no other outcome that could happen, but to give so many clues along the way, I felt, was unnecessary and leaves a limp ending.
I'm left wondering how many scenes were heavily cut and are left littering the cutting room floor? The progression of the story feels heavily edited and this is the sort of movie where a typical preview of a more twisted, mysterious version might have elicited comments of 'I didn't understand it', forcing a different direction before the launch.
This should have been a movie which throws up more questions, especially moral ones, than there are answers but, in that respect, it fails. On the thriller side it also doesn't score as highly as it could have done. At the end I was just left feeling that this could have been so much better.
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