In The Replacement, writer and director Sean Miller provides a brief look at the various complications of cloning in the free world. Actor Mike McNamara plays the roles of Abe Stagsen, Newscaster, Bartender, and President Abe. As an original, Abe Stagsen becomes frustrated at his lot in life after he relinquishes his DNA to be replicated. One day (2032), while taking a break as a janitor, he sees that his replicant has just been elected President of the United States. Abe wonders how this is even possible.
He thought that there would have been several perks that went along with “contributing to society”. Abe decides to terminate his contract of the donating of his DNA, only to discover that it would still be replicated under another name. Later, Abe Stagsen confronts his replica President Abe, asserting that he (the original) should have equal rights, ownership, and privileges to all that has been acquired by his clone.
This short film reminded me of a combination of the United States of Tara and Orphan Black, but the male version. As human beings, there are various personalities locked away within our psyche. Some of these personalities should never come out. The problem with cloning is the issue of creation and moral and ethical issues. Just because you can play God doesn’t mean you should.
I believe that there are already clones running around, we just don’t know who they are. It would cause mass hysteria and panic if there was any real discovery of a society of clones trying to "run things". However, movies have been preparing the world for this scientific revolution for quite some time now.
The aspect that makes this sci-fi short different from others is the fact that Abe sees himself in many roles. Ironically, the various clones give him advice on how he should proceed living his life and that he should be grateful for what he has been given.
It is human nature to demand what we think we are owed, to want control and power, regardless of outcomes or moral or ethical issues. I believe this short film provides a brief snippet of the beginnings of what a nightmare of cloning could look like. We are even experiencing the beginnings of it today.
According to NPR, there is no known US ban on cloning laws on the books, only the prohibition of federal funding for procedures and experiments, and also regulation by the Food and Drug administration. I would give this film 3 stars because I thought it had an excellent delivery of visual quality and dialogue. The Replacement addresses the future of a bizarre world in scientific revolution and the complications that will arise as egregious crimes against humanity and creation.
This film was an official selection of the 53rd Chicago International Film Festival.