Remember how when I reviewed SWAN SONG with Udo Keir in the 12/10/21 issue of the MT VOID, and I said, "There are two 2021 films titled SWAN SONG. One is a science fiction film with Mahershala Ali. This is not that film. This is a drama film with Udo Kier."? Well, now I'm reviewing the other one. In other words:
There are two 2021 films titled SWAN SONG. One is a drama film with Udo Kier. This is not that film. This is a science fiction film with Mahershala Ali." (And if that seems backward, in the sense that one expects Keir to be doing the science fiction one, and Ali the drama, well, that just makes it more confusing.)
Cameron (played by Ali) is dying, and to save his family from grief, he agrees to a new technique that will duplicate him completely, with all his memories except the ones that would tell him he is a duplicate. (This is using cloning technique rather than robotics.) The plot has similar ideas to FRANKENSTEIN MUST BE DESTROYED, and also MOON.
The story moves a little slowly, as it has long contemplative sequences. And the main thrust of the film is on the emotional, psychological, and moral aspects of this very unusual situation, rather than the science fictional aspects. For example, Cameron's wife is expecting their second child and says, "This baby is going to be good for us." Similarly, the creation of Cameron's duplicate is for the purpose of "being good" for Cameron's family. But in both cases this is treating a human being as a means to an end for other human beings, rather than as a separate individual. (This is why biological duplication is important; creating a robot might not be considered creating a human being.)
Released theatrically 12/17/21; available on Apple TV+. Rating: high +1 (-4 to +4), or 6/10.
Film Credits: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt13207508/reference
What others are saying: https://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/swan_song_2021_2
Mark R. Leeper Copyright 2022 Mark R. Leeper