Muddy visuals and muddled plotting sink "cl.one," an ambitious DV indie that comes across like a bargain basement version of "Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow." Jason J. Tomaric employs state-of-the-art software and extensive blue-screen trickery in an attempt to fake epic scale and lavish production values for his formulaic sci-fi drama of post-apocalyptic evolution and revolution.

Muddy visuals and muddled plotting sink “cl.one,” an ambitious DV indie that comes across like a bargain basement version of “Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow.” Cleveland-based multi-hyphenate Jason J. Tomaric employs state-of-the-art software and extensive blue-screen trickery in an attempt to fake epic scale and lavish production values for his formulaic sci-fi drama of post-apocalyptic evolution and revolution. Unfortunately, ponderously paced pic — reportedly filmed for $25,000 and edited in young helmer’s basement — simply isn’t persuasive or entertaining enough to encourage a willing suspension of disbelief. Cable and homevid await.

Plot details radical plans for the survival of the species in wake of World War III. With most humans incapable of breeding, conniving politician Derek Strombourgh (Jeff St. Clair) drives an army of scientists to perfect a new and improved cloning technology. Trouble is, the man-made embryos require transplants from someone with a perfect gene structure. Someone like, say, Orin Stalward (Bill Caco), an idealistic student who’s also being sought by anti-government anarchists. Tomaric relies on climactic “surprise twist” to paper over contradictions and inconsistencies of plot. But that’s not enough. Flat acting and tone-deaf dialogue don’t help much, either.

Cl.one

Production

A Quantus Pictures production. Produced by Stephen R. Campanella, Jason J. Tomaric. Directed, written, edited by Jason J. Tomaric.

Crew

Camera (color, DV), Tomaric; music, Christopher First; production designer, Greg McDougall. Reviewed at South by Southwest Film Festival (Emerging Visions), March 11, 2005. Running time: 112 MIN.

With

Jeff St. Clair, Gary Skiba, James Kisicki, Bill Caco, Nick Zelletz, Charles Eduardos.
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