Directed by Railey Stearns, Dual is a sci-fi film with a world of its own. In the Dual world, individuals do not express their emotions; characters mostly communicate with a deadpan face. Every word spoken is stated as a matter of fact. In a world that has evolved to replace individuals, dark humor plays a central role. We follow the journey of Sarah, who suffers from a terminal illness and decides to find her replacement. Cloning is a common practice in this world, and Sarah resorts to it before dying. The only problem is that Sarah continued to live.
Plot Summary: What Is The Film About?
Dual introduces the concept of a duel at the start. We witness two men fighting for their lives on a field as the audience watches them with eagerness. After stabbing his opponent, one man emerged as the winner. The one who survived was the double of the man whom he killed. The host announced that he would no longer be a double but would rather be the original Robert Michael from then on.
Soon we meet Sarah, a woman who is not particularly happy with her life. She dreads confronting her mother and mostly avoids her calls. She has a boyfriend, Peter, who is currently working on a project and lives far away. Sarah spends her time alone at the house, gorging on the Mexican food she loves and then fulfilling her sexual appetite. The video calls between Peter and Sarah get shorter with time. Initially, Sarah wanted to be left alone and preferred a shorter call, but once she realized that there was a growing distance between Peter and her, she wanted to work on their relationship.
Sarah woke up to a blood-stained bed one morning. She realized that she had puked up blood in her sleep. She went to visit the doctor after taking a shower. The doctor did not know what Sarah was suffering from, but they feared that it might be something dangerous. Sarah video called Peter the next day. She wanted to flaunt her body, hoping to win his attention. But Peter instead shared the news of her terminal illness with her. His number was provided by Sarah as the primary contact, and the hospital had informed him about her status. Sarah met her doctor, who confirmed that she had a 98% chance of dying. She questioned what the 2% was for, and the doctor replied that it was a marginal error. The bottom line was that Sarah was going to die, according to the doctor. She advised Sarah to plan her funeral and also look into the prospect of getting a replacement. Sarah watched videos of how doubles helped the family of the deceased cope with the sadness of losing their loved ones. Sarah decided on a consultation to understand the process of a replacement.
Major Spoilers Ahead
Why Did Sarah Have To Face A Duel? How Did She Train To Kill Her Clone?
Upon visiting the facility, she realized that the process was expensive. But the technician convinced her after stating that she did not have to worry about the payment of the replacement. After her death, the clone would have to repay the loan. Sarah believed that a replacement was the last good thing she could do for her family and lover. She agreed to go through the process. Within a few minutes, Sarah’s double stood in front of her. The technician pointed out that she had blue eyes as a result of a coding error, though Sarah believed that the blue eyes made her look interesting.
Sarah introduced her double to all the things she liked and hated. The double was curious to learn all about her life and, at the same time, thought about fitting into her life perfectly. Sarah envied her double for having the perfect body and blue eyes. The double detested Sarah’s clothing and wanted to establish her style. Sarah watched the double get intimate with Peter. She had been tolerating her existence for over ten months now. She was nearly forgotten by her lover, who was now completely in love with her double. While watching her life being taken over by her clone, she received a call from her doctor. The doctor said that she had overcome her illness and had completely recovered. Even though that news made her happy, she knew she had a problem at hand.
She watched the double have a great time with her mother and her boyfriend. Sarah was shocked to learn that the double had been in contact with her mother for months now. When she disclosed her situation to them and expressed her interest in decommissioning the double, her mother and Peter seemed to be hurt. Peter took Sarah out of the house and explained how he was in love with the double and not her. Even though she looked like Sarah, she worked towards making Peter happy by doing all that he loved. Sarah was torn upon realizing that the people for whom she signed up for the replacement program had replaced her before she could even die. She was forgotten, and that made her desperate to remove the clone from her life and take all that was rightfully hers. The lawyer informed her about the duel. Even though clones could be decommissioned, if they lived for a long time and had become their own people, then they could express their wish. If the double wished to stay, then the original and the double had to fight the duel, and the one who survived would get to live the life of the original.
Sarah contacted a cheap trainer, Trent. Trent made her determined to win the challenge. He made her watch gory videos to help her cope with her fear of blood. Sarah eventually started to enjoy the films. She worked hard to keep her body in shape. She was introduced to all the tools that were provided during the duel, and Trent taught her to use them. He showed her pictures of deceased individuals and asked her to identify them. She was only incorrect about the person who was killed by poison. Though Trent confirmed that poison was rarely provided as a weapon of death since it took its time to destroy the target.
Who Won The Duel?
Sarah was prepared for the duel. She had by then learned every combat technique. Sadly, she faced a setback when the duel was postponed for a month. One morning, as she continued training with Trent, she noticed her double watching her from across the street. She shot an arrow in her direction, which did not injure her but scared her. Sarah followed her double as she ran away from her. She found her hiding at the children’s park and said that she would not try to harm her. The two sat down together and confronted each other. Sarah felt that the double had wronged her by taking away everything that made up her life. The double acknowledged Sarah’s hate and believed that it was justified. The double complained about Peter and her mother, and how they were gradually getting on her nerves. She asked Sarah to accompany her to a place; it was a duel support group discussion. Sarah listened to accounts of those who continued to live after the duel; how they were all suffering, and life was not as smooth as they had determined it to be. Sarah felt that the double was trying to demotivate her from killing her. The double established that she too would kill Sarah, but she wanted her to be aware of what lay ahead after the duel.
Sarah’s Double wrote a letter and read it out in the meeting that was addressed to Sarah. Instead of blaming her for the situation she was in, the double blamed society and its practices. The duel was simply a spectacle for those who watched while two people fought for their survival. This moved Sarah. She started to believe that the double was empathetic and thought about the broader scheme of things. They both decided to run away from the country on the day of the duel.
Sarah drove her car and picked up her double on the way. They planned to walk through the woods and escape the country. While driving, the double noticed how Sarah controlled the car, and she tried to pick up the skill in that short instance. Before heading out to the woods, they checked a list of things they were supposed to carry, and weapons were not part of the list. They even agreed to each other’s bags to confirm it. The double gave Sarah the bottle of water that she was carrying for her and insisted on hydrating themselves before heading out. As they walked, Sarah discussed how it was a great risk that they were taking to break societal norms and how proud she was, while saying that she realized that something was wrong with her. The blood started to drip from her mouth; the water had poison, and that was the end of Sarah.
During Dual‘s ending, the double changed into Sarah’s clothes and drove the car with her little knowledge. She arrived at the dueling ground, limping all the while. Upon arrival, she confirmed that she was the original Sarah and that the double had left the country. The mother and Peter testified for the double, confirming that she was the original Sarah. It was always their plan to end Sarah’s life, especially after she met Peter and spoke with confidence about how she was definitely going to kill the double. They knew Sarah had learned several combat techniques; therefore, they used intelligence to win. Even though poison was a slow death, it was the easiest to conceal.
While the double did fight for her life, she knew she was now trapped to live a life she never chose. In the absence of the original, the double had no fight to win but to simply exist in the world of Sarah that overwhelmed her to a great extent. Even though she had developed a different taste to accommodate people in her life, she struggled to keep them happy. Just like Sarah, she now did not receive the calls from her mother and got irritated with the little things Peter did or said. In the end, she stops her car in the middle of the road and cries her heart out. The double fought a futile fight. She destroyed a person for a life she did not enjoy. The meaninglessness of the entire situation was perhaps what made the double stop the car in the middle of the road, signifying the chaos she had to now be a part of. The car was the only space where both Sarah and her double were able to express their emotions. The world around them never tore up, so it was only when they were alone and enclosed within a space that could not be accessed by anyone else, that they could be true to themselves. Dual is a peculiar film that will keep you engrossed. While the idea of cloning has been a part of various sci-fi films, the treatment in Dual is unique and interesting.
Dual is a 2022 Drama Thriller film written and directed by Riley Stearns.