Bore-on and Steel: Our Review of ‘Simulant’

Posted in Movies, Theatrical by - April 07, 2023
Bore-on and Steel: Our Review of ‘Simulant’

April Mullen’s Simulant converges two storylines. The first looks at a couple, Evan (Robbie Amell) and Faye (Jordana Brewster), looking for a vacation. Their need for a vacation makes no sense because their home suggests that they never have to work. But just because they’re insanely rich doesn’t mean that they’re not harboring secrets. The second looks at Detective Kessler (Sam Worthington), this storyline making it more obvious that this is a sci-fi film. He’s looking into the reasons why a seventh generation simulant robot (Alicia Sanz) broke their programming directives. This leads him to a rabbit hole that involves a guy living near the simulant, Casey Rosen (Simu Liu). Casey’s secret involves the simulants around them.

Simulant is one of those sci-fi films that either feels somehow off target or way off target, so I’ll be nice and say that it slightly almost touches on its fictional world’s economic disparities, or the appearances thereof. Kessler is more of a working class figure, although his triggering outfits and food choices denote more of his depression than his status. Evan and Faye, no surnames, are more fascinating. It took me reading someone else’s review to realize that Faye is a painter instead of someone who paints as a hobby. All Evan does, meanwhile, is look out of windows, sometimes shirtless. It doesn’t take long for this movie to make a shirtless guy feel boring.

Sci-fi thrillers are either ambitious or fun or stupid, and Simulant is the third of those things, but it’s crunchy and textural in a good way. The element providing said texture are the actors. The film’s cheapest yet most effective thrills come from Worthington’s face realizing something mind blowing about a case I care nothing about. Or the mannerisms in Brewster’s face suggesting that yes, she is an expensive white woman. These two doing the heavy lifting isn’t enough since the other two cast members feel like they need more time to find their strengths as actors even if yes, this film feels like their artistic risks.

Canada should keep making more films, even sci-fi thrillers, even though this is a terrible example of it. The third act feels like what happens in most recent Canadian films where they rent an AirBnB and hope for the best. The nighttime scenes, even the indoor ones, have terrible lighting. And the sound quality, while it’s not blaring its ripoff Zimmer score, makes the audio inaudible. Lastly, I have a point is going to seem incorrect and petty. But I am sick of sci-fi films where robots are the villains. I met a robot at a hotel once and they seem chill. And the film world needs to tell stories like that instead.

Watch Simulant in select Canadian theatres.

  • Release Date: 4/7/2023
This post was written by
While Paolo Kagaoan is not taking long walks in shrubbed areas, he occasionally watches movies and write about them. His credentials are as follows: he has a double major in English and Art History. This means that, for example, he will gush at the art direction in the Amityville house and will want to live there, which is a terrible idea because that house has ghosts. Follow him @paolokagaoan on Instagram but not while you're working.
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