Dir: Lynn Hershman-Leeson
Star: Tilda Swinton, Jeremy Davies, James Urbaniak, Karen Black

And Tilda Swinton, Tilda Swinton and...Tilda Swinton. For, despite a title that sounds like a late-night Skinemax special, this strange little SF film is sexual rather than sexy. Swinton plays researcher Rosetta Stone - a deliberate choice of name - who surreptitiously creates three cyber-clones, AIs made flesh who embody aspects of her own personality. But they require male DNA to survive, so one of them, Ruby, has to go out, collect semen and bring it back to her sisters. However, she infects her donors with a mutated computer virus; they develop barcodes on their foreheads, alarming the authorities. When the link to Ruby is established, she gets onto their 'Most Wanted' list - which is not good news, given she isn't even supposed to exist.

It's an interesting idea, and there's a nicely otherworldly feel to the music [Klaus Badelt, back before he became a major player with his Pirates of the Caribbean soundtrack] and design that is effective. There are little touches, like the copy-center employee fascinated by Ruby - herself a copy, of course - and Swinton is ideal in her multiple roles: she has just the right look, and I've always felt there's something slightly alien about her, which fits in perfectly here. The film's chief weakness is the attempt to enter thriller-mode: it's too laid-back for this, and it only exposes the lack of narrative drive that's otherwise hidden quite nicely. The director is a veteran of video art and seems less interested in such things than style and atmosphere. As long as you're in the same mood, this is an interesting futuristic take on the Frankenstein concept.

March 2006

Ruby Tuesday
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