Sunday, 27 July, 2003
I picked up the movie S1M0NE at Blockbuster on Friday. I remember seeing trailers for this last summer, but it was in and out of the theatres so fast that I didn't have time to see it. When it finally came out on DVD, it seemed to be rented the few times I remembered to look for it. The guy at the rental counter told me once that the movie didn't do well at the box office, but it's been a steady rental since it appeared on DVD.
To recap the movie: Al Pacino plays Victor Tranasky, an obscure movie director (both he and his movies are obscure) who's had his fill of temperamental actors. A nutcase computer hacker who loves those movies creates a virtual actor computer program. Then he dies and leaves his program to Victor. Victor uses the program to create Simone, who stars in his film and becomes an overnight sensation: doing video interviews, photo spreads in Playboy, etc. Initially, Victor is delighted and somewhat amused by the reclusive Simone's stardom, but soon it begins to affect his life. For example, in one scene a woman wants to sleep with Victor in an attempt "to be closer to Simone." It all unravels in the end, of course, but I'll not spoil it for you.
I thought the movie was brilliantly done. It's funny, and touching, and takes great big swipes at popular culture and the whole business of celebrity. Al Pacino's performance was dead on–I can't imagine anybody else being cast for the role. I can understand why the movie didn't do well in the theatres, though. It probably hits a little too close to home for many people, by pointing out (without actually saying it) how ridiculous it is to idolize movie stars and pop singers, and by making people realize just how easy it would be to do something like this: dupe the entire world by creating an entirely fictitious "person."
The movie really is quite good. I highly recommend it.