In Tim Disney's (son of Roy) William, professors Julian Reed and Barbara Sullivan hatch a plan (and a romance) to learn more about ancient humans by creating a modern Neanderthal.
"Wouldn't it be great if someone could figure out how to use his DNA to clone a living Neanderthal?" asks Reed (Waleed Zuaiter, The Men Who Stare at Goats) to an auditorium of fawning students who applaud his lecture.
No, Reed. It would not.
The underused Paul Guilfoyle (CSI) is the university president who too briefly wrestles with the dilemma of such a project. In a single scene, he consults a guy who says only, “As a bioethicist, I find the idea abhorrent.” We’re then spared the “I think this research will benefit us” line from another scientist, but it’s summarized before Guilfoyle decides no.
Reed and Sullivan (Maria Dizza, Orange is the New Black, 13 Reasons Why) decide, screw that, we’re getting pregnant. She’ll carry William. And they’ll get married. In a random Elvis-themed Nevada wedding chapel. Apparently you can thumb your nose at the ethics of your research and impregnate yourself with a Neander-zygote, but you can’t do it if you’re not married.
Will Brittain (Kong: Skull Island) does a solid job with an identity-confused, late-teens William, but scenes like fighting over meatloaf at the dinner table and the lad’s preternatural camping skills are stunning in their simplicity. Should he go to college or get a job at a hardware store? Seriously.
+ Guilfoyle; some strong visual ties to the theme
– You might well be angry when you leave
NR, 103 minutes