A Number

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  • TV-14
  • 2008
  • 1 hr 16 min
  • 5.4  (327)

A Number is a thought-provoking drama film from 2008, directed by James MacDonald, and starring Rhys Ifans and Tom Wilkinson. The movie is based on a play written by Pulitzer Prize-winning British playwright Caryl Churchill. It explores the themes of identity, genetics, and the nature versus nurture debate in a futuristic, dystopian world.

Set in a not too distant future, A Number revolves around Salter (played by Wilkinson), a man who discovers that his son (Ifans) is not his biological offspring. The situation is further complicated when the son reveals that he is one of multiple cloned versions derived from the same genetic material. The story raises questions about how much of a person's identity is determined by nature versus nurture and the legal, ethical and emotional ramifications of cloning.

The film is set in a minimalist, futuristic environment where technology is advanced enough to enable cloning, but the society is not yet fully accustomed to the idea of cloning as a means of reproduction. The film opens with a series of close-up shots of different numbers, which are supposed to represent the clone numbers. Salter, a somber and complex character, is forced to confront his actions and the repercussions of his decisions as the story progresses.

Wilkinson delivers a powerful performance as a conflicted father, who struggles with the realization that he has essentially created another version of his son. The film also delves into his character's past and present life, revealing more about him than initially meets the eye. Ifans, on the other hand, plays multiple roles, each of them a clone with variations in personality and behavior. He skillfully portrays the different versions of himself, raising questions about identity and whether being a clone means having the same personality as the original.

One of the film's central themes is the debate between nature and nurture, and how much of a person's identity is predetermined by their genetic makeup. Salter grapples with the idea that the cloned version of his son might share his original son’s characteristics, even though they were raised in different environments. He wonders whether he could have done more to shape his original son's personality, and prevent the negative qualities that were passed down and repeated in his clones.

The film doesn't lean heavily on special effects, instead relying on strong performances and thoughtful dialogue to present its themes. The simple but effective cinematography and editing create a sense of intimacy, as the camera stays mostly on the actors' faces, emphasizing their expressions and emotions.

Throughout the film, the story unfolds at a steady pace, gradually revealing more about the characters and their motivations. The dialogue is well written, thought-provoking and manages to keep the audience engaged in the story. The film presents a coherent and a well-constructed plot, and the characters are multi-dimensional, with their own unique personalities, guilt, and regrets.

In conclusion, A Number is a gripping drama that raises ethical and moral questions about cloning, identity, and the complicated relationships between parents and children. It showcases strong performances from its lead actors and presents a nuanced view of a future that might one day be a reality. The film stays true to its source material and is a must-watch for fans of intelligent, thought-provoking cinema.

A Number is a 2008 science fiction movie with a runtime of 1 hour and 16 minutes. It has received moderate reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 5.4.

A Number
Where to Watch A Number
A Number is available to watch, stream, download and buy on demand at Apple TV, Amazon, Google Play and YouTube VOD. Some platforms allow you to rent A Number for a limited time or purchase the movie and download it to your device.
  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 16 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    5.4  (327)