The Reconstruction of William Zero

Kevin Taft READ TIME: 3 MIN.

Writer/director Dan Bush's new film "The Reconstruction of William Zero" is a hard film to review, mostly because you don't want to give anything away that might take away from how the plot unfolds. So as I dance around the story, just know that this nifty little indie continues to show Bush -- whose previous film was 2007's clever zombie thriller "The Signal" -- as a filmmaker to watch.

William (Conal Byrne) is a geneticist with a loving wife Jules (Amy Seimetz) and adorable son. But when he is distracted one day and rushing out of his driveway to get to work, he doesn't realize his son is charging down the street on his bike. Tragedy strikes.

Cut to four years later. William is living with his twin brother, Edward (Byrne as well), as he tries to recover his memory from an accident of his own. Guided by Edward, he learns how to do simple tasks again (learn a joke, eat cereal) as well as gets a history of his life and family. But something is a bit off in his recovery, and when Edward has to go off to work, William decides to poke around the house. This is when he discovers everything in his life isn't what it seems to be.

Suffice to say, there is a large sci-fi component to this tale, and while the trailer gives away some of it, I won't here because while one of the twists comes fairly quickly, there are many more that follow. Truth be told, this aspect of Bush and co-writer Byrne's story can be a bit confusing as you try to make sense of what is happening on screen. But the good news is that although Byrne plays more than one character, he subtly changes his appearance, his mannerisms, and his speaking tone to make them all stand apart. In fact, I half thought the director had hired real twins to play the roles.

Which is another great feat here. For a low budget indie, the technical savvy at having the same actor playing two roles in one scene is seamless. Not once was I aware that they were cheating us, and quite often they are seen in the same shot doing fairly complicated things like jogging down the street in a two-shot or having a conversation in a small room. In those instances (and more) both Bush and Byrne have their talents fully on display.

"Reconstruction" is a beautiful film, too. With gorgeous widescreen cinematography by Jon Swindall and an emotional score by Ben Lovett, there is much to appreciate here. It's nice to see the continuing trend of indie filmmakers creating challenging and thought-provoking stories in an entertaining way. Despite there being a trippy sci-fi plot device driving the story, this is a lovely meditation on loss, grief, and unconditional love.

We seem to be at a resurgence in indie cinema where some of the best new films are ones that only show in a few theatres and arrive on VOD the same day. What's great is that the general public has boarded the VOD train and is easily discovering these films. Bush is one of those directors that fledging filmmakers can look up to and emulate, and they need look no further than this film to start their education.

by Kevin Taft

Kevin Taft is a screenwriter/critic living in Los Angeles with an unnatural attachment to 'Star Wars' and the desire to be adopted by Steven Spielberg.

Read These Next