2002’s Teknolust is a much better film that reveals Leeson’s capabilities as a filmmaker had certainly improved in the five years between. The camerawork is far more assured, the writing is far more intelligible and the message is more on-point.
The film does struggle with establishing a consistent tone — is it aiming for campy silliness, pointed satire or romantic comedy? — but it’s entertaining in a rather awkward fashion, with Swinton doing some solid work as four characters.
The only human of the four is Rosetta Stone, a frumpy caricature of a scientist who has secretly cloned herself into three much more glamorous replicants — Ruby, Marinne and Olive, each distinguished by the color of her hair.
In a plot that seems lifted right out of a porno, the three clones (or self-replicating automatons, as the film brands them) need frequent doses of the male Y chromosome to live. And where can they find it? You got it — sperm. The most confident of the three, Ruby, seduces random men in public places, blows their mind and then proceeds to take the used condom and its contents back to feed herself and her sister-clones.
Fortunately, the film doesn’t focus on the mechanics of this process in any great detail, but instead turns it into dual love stories as Ruby falls for the shy and awkward Sandy (Jeremy Davies, doing the just-past-adolescent version of his character on Lost) and Rosetta begins to grow attracted to Agent Hopper (the always-wry James Urbaniak), who’s investigating the recent spate of viruses men have picked up because of their liaisons with the clones.
Teknolust is almost too idiosyncratic for its own good, and one gets the feeling that Leeson still isn’t quite sure how to make the point she wants to cinematically, but the film somehow works — thanks in large part to Swinton’s ability to create four distinct characters. The anamorphic widescreen image on this DVD is also much more watchable.
Both DVDs include the same discussion with Swinton and Leeson that occurred after a 2009 screening of Teknolust at the Museum of Fine Arts Houston. Teknolust also includes a short featurette on an artificial intelligence robot that inspired the film.