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A Number 2008
Description: A father is confronted by the sons he had cloned decades earlier. Based on a enjoy by Caryl Churchill.
Released: 10 Sep 2008 Director: James MacDonald Writers: Caryl Churchill Actors: Rhys Ifans, Tom Wilkinson Genres: Drama
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A Number Reviews:

I gotta tell I really only watched this programme for Tom Wilkinson, although the premise was intriguing, with the concept that a boy finds out he is a clone & that there are another copies of him walking around, & the confrontation with his father about what happened. And despite a decent storyline, right from the begin it was clear it was originally for the stage, with the dialogue very much in the style of a David Mamet enjoy (Oleanna springs to mind), with the progression & dialogue unclear in many places.The performances however can't be faulted, with perfect performances from Rhys Ifans & Tom Wilkinson, however perhaps the script would've been better adapted for tv than taken directly from the play.


A boy discovers that there are another versions of himself out in the true globe – clones that were generated from an original, which may or may not have been him. He confronts his father to search out how and why this should have happened and learns of a son that was killed many years ago – after the man's wife had died. The father discusses these things with him and, inevitably, has cause to have further such conversations with another copies that begin to come out of the woodwork.A Number was shown in a slot on BBC2 that had previously shown another one-off plays and dramas that had gotten nice press, so, as part of recording/watching those I also place this movie on my HDR for a soon date. That date came round recently and I was intrigued to see what the movie would be about. I gather that others were hoping for some split-screen items with the multiple clones interacting with one other but for me I was concerned that this would produce a gimmick and hoped it wouldn't be that way. That was how it played out and indeed it is only the final several mins that we receive a shot of the multiple clones all hanging around in one zone – and, as I suspected, it does feel a tiny gimmicky in how it is done. These are two mins though, leaving other 58 to do something else and it was this majority of the movie that appealed to me.Unsurprisingly (as it was a play) the movie works greatest as an actor's movie as it gives three or four enclosed scenes that are emotionally charged and delivered in tight territories that let for the two actors to focus on their characters and their interactions more than movement or camera locations. In this regard it does really work as both Wilkinson and Ifans are excellent. Ifans appeared to have the better of it by having more varied characters as well as the gimmick result of testing versions of himself but as the movie went on the true impact came from Wilkinson. Because his hero is constant throughout it allows him to react and develop his hero over time in a method that Ifans doesn't have – he just has step changes as he moves between characters. Both performances are powerful then and this makes it more of a shame that the material is not quite as engaging or compelling as I would have liked. Any specific dialogue stage tends to work cute well by giving the actors plenty to work with in that moment but it is in the bigger picture that the script disappoints. We understand from it what happens to every clone that we have just met and we receive the sense of time passing but the bigger picture never engaged or played out for me in the method that I wanted it to. It is a shame because Wilkinson is the main driver for the movie being able to do it and his performance is there for the taking – trouble is that the script doesn't url the scenes as well as I would have liked and doesn't enjoy to the heart of the piece in the method that it does enjoy to the heart of any specific scene.A Number is still interesting and engaging though because every self-contained stage is tightly filmed and really well acted – with Wilkinson specifically doing nice work across the film. The script is strongest in the moment but doesn't manage to fully work on the bigger lvl of the entire film. Still worth seeing for the performances but slightly disappointing for what it doesn't manage to do.


A Number is a intelligent play, so you can see why someone would think it was a nice concept to transfer it into a TV piece.The experiment works in some respect. Tom Willkinson is nice in his role, giving Salter all the qualities that create us wish to like him and loath him all at the same time.Rhys Ifan's is the true revelation though, testing his multiple roles with skill and ease.The true thing that this piece comes down to though is whether you can place up with the slow pace of the entire thing or whether Carol Churchill's decision to leave so many sentences unanswered or spoken over. It's a nice technique but one that grates after a while.I didn't hate 'A Number' but it certainly didn't create me wish to watch it again.



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