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'Reconstruction of William Zero' compels with identity issues

The small-scale identity psychodrama "The Reconstruction of William Zero" comes on the heels of an alluring wave of indie sci-fi ("Another Earth," "Upstream Color") that aims for intimate infinities over tech-heavy magnitude.

William (Conal Byrne) is an overworked geneticist, husband and father who after a fatally tragic accident awakens to find his memory-clouded self being tended to in a home lab set up by his more grim-faced, pained-looking twin brother (also Byrne).

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It's not giving too much away to say that William's cloning studies for a big corporation are behind the increasingly strange, secretive and eventually violent look-alike scenario, which in director Dan Bush's screenplay (co-written with Byrne) is gradually explained in careful if predictable doses.

But even as stakes escalate, Bush keeps the vibe ethereal and loose, as if afraid to taint his story's philosophical ruminations on scientifically enabled personality disintegration with the trappings of a pulse-pounding genre movie.

Byrne does a fine job fragmenting William's innocent, scary and guilt-ridden sides, and Amy Seimetz makes his wife a compelling, grief-stricken figure. But "The Reconstruction of William Zero" has its own identity problem, essentially, being a solid sci-fi story with a welcome emotional component, yet never fully effective at either.

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"The Reconstruction of William Zero"

MPAA rating: None

Running time: 1 hour, 38 minutes.

Playing: Arena Cinema, Hollywood.

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