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Entry updated 10 February 2017. Tagged: Film.

Film (2002). New Line Cinema presents a Niccol Films production. Written and directed by Andrew Niccol. Cast includes Catherine Keener, Elias Koteas, Jay Mohr, Al Pacino, Rachel Roberts, Winona Ryder and Pruitt Taylor Vince. 117 minutes. Colour.

A dying computer scientist (Koteas) presents a fading Hollywood auteur (Pacino) with the secret technology to create a digital "synthespian" – a Virtual Reality screen goddess (Roberts) who can be digitally inserted into footage and even manipulated in live video feeds – only for his creation to become a Frankenstein Monster as the charade comes under increasing pressure and her success eclipses his own.

Niccol's broadest Satire draws on his Hollywood experiences, as his earlier Media Landscape fantasy The Truman Show had on his background in television, for an enthusiastically played if largely nonsensical extrapolative fugue on the then-emerging technology of digital filmmaking, though its actual grasp of workstation technology is (perhaps wilfully) shaky. A notable example of the sf spotlight turned on Hollywood itself (see California), it focuses less on Simone (Roberts) than on Pacino's splendidly shambling and overripe performance as the creator enslaved to his creation, but makes some insider points about the changing role of the traditional film author and actor in a Hollywood increasingly driven by the fabrication, management, and commodification of celebrity across multiple media platforms. [NL]


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