Another Body (Blu-ray Review)

  • Reviewed by: Dennis Seuling
  • Review Date: Jun 13, 2024
  • Format: Blu-ray Disc
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Another Body (Blu-ray Review)


Sophie Compton/Reuben Hamlyn

Release Date(s)

2023 (April 30, 2024)


WILLA/Impact Partners (Utopia/Vinegar Syndrome)
  • Film/Program Grade: A
  • Video Grade: A
  • Audio Grade: A
  • Extras Grade: A

Another Body (Blu-ray)

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Technology changes so quickly these days that it’s hard to keep up. One of the latest—and most unsavory—effects of artificial intelligence is the ability to easily create deepfakes—doctored images that put the face of one person on the body of another. As shown in the documentary Another Body, this practice has been used to create pornographic videos and images combining the faces of unwitting young women with the bodies of adult actresses in pornographic scenes.

A female college student called Taylor in the film to disguise her identity learns that someone has taken her picture from social media, used it to create a pornographic deepfake, and disseminated it on pornography websites. The documentary points out that this is a rapidly growing practice and that certain websites offer specific instructions for creating such images.

Taylor is not only horrified and embarrassed, but also fearful of the effect this scurrilous image could have on her pursuit of an engineering degree and future employment. The film focuses on her quest to discover the identity of the perpetrator, learn the person’s motives, and get justice. She starts by reporting the deepfake to police and she’s told they’re unable to help. Because she herself was not used in the scenes, legally she can’t be considered a victim, and there are no laws against creating such images. A lawyer she consults corroborates this.

Taylor’s search for the perpetrator is particularly difficult because she can’t think of anyone who holds a grudge against her or would regard her as an enemy. When she learns that another student at her college—Julia—has also had deepfaked pornographic images posted online, the two girls join forces to try to identify the culprit.

We then learn from Taylor, likely to our surprise, that to protect their identity and to illustrate how easy it is to create deepfake images, the filmmakers have replaced her face and Julia’s with the faces of hired actors. This powerful touch along with the images taken from uploaded videos (tastefully presented) are amazing in the clarity and believability of the results. It’s impossible to detect that we’re looking at combined images.

Another Body concentrates on how simple photos on such sites as Facebook can be harvested to create damaging pornographic images but there are other applications. Long-dead celebrities appear to hawk merchandise and, far more sinisterly, politically motivated deepfakes can influence elections. But 90% of the face-changing images online are non-consensual, faked pornography of unsuspecting women whose lives could be upended as a result.

Directors Sophie Compton and Reuben Hamlyn connected with Taylor after coming across her deepfakes online. She agreed to become involved in the project as long as her identity was concealed, and the co-directors were methodical in seeing that the film would not cause her anxiety. Taylor and Julia are not the girls’ real names.

Most of the film concentrates on Taylor doing research on her computer and later conferring with Julia as they try to close in on the perpetrator. They eventually have an idea who it is and give the name to the police. They question the person about the images. He doesn’t admit to creating them. But he also doesn’t deny it.

We can feel the women’s frustration and concern over friends and family seeing the videos, fear that future job offers might be compromised, unease about their safety, and disgust at receiving lewd e-mails. That the story has no neat conclusion makes it even more potent in bringing this practice to the forefront and emphasizing how difficult it to control. Clearly, the filmmakers state, laws must be enacted to discourage these violations of privacy and consent, which can and do cause immeasurable harm to the victims.

Another Body was captured digitally by director of photography Nausheen Dadabhoy. There are no additional details about specific equipment used. The Blu-ray is presented in the aspect ratio of 1.78:1. Clarity is pristine, and the deepfakes of Taylor and Julia are amazingly convincing—strong visual evidence of how credible they can be.

The filmmakers use motion capture to recreate college campus scenes. Frequent close-ups of text messages are shown. The film is made up mostly of Taylor and later Taylor and Julia collaborating. Though there’s not much movement, Taylor’s pursuit of the likely culprit rivets our attention.

The soundtrack is English 2.0 DTS-HD Master Audio. English SDH subtitles are an available option. Dialogue is clear and distinct and dominates the film. Holland Andrews’ musical score is used sparingly and is never intrusive.

Bonus materials on the Region A Blu-ray release include the following:

  • Director’s Commentary
  • Film Fest Munich Director Interview (9:20)
  • IDA FallDocs Q&A Panel (35:26)
  • SXSW Panel (60:27)
  • Q&A with Actress Juno Temple (53:17)
  • Trailer (2:03)

Director’s Commentary – Co-directors Sophie Compton and Reuben Hamlyn note that the home video footage shown at the beginning of the film is not actually Taylor’s. It was acquired by individuals willing to share it. They discuss how shots were set up and how long they would run. They had to decide how much pornography footage to put into the documentary. They wanted the audience to feel uncomfortable but not have the content be gratuitous. During filming, more fake videos of Taylor were uploaded and the filmmakers were afraid she would back out of her commitment. Companies like Google profit by allowing instructional videos on how to create deepfakes on their platforms. It was helpful for Taylor to talk with Julia, since they were both victimized, possibly by the same individual. The language of the website 4Chan is filled with graphic language and deepfaked content. The girls’ online investigation was recorded in real time. They speculate as to the identity of the perpetrator after finding certain information, though tracing posts back to the originator was impossible. The advice put forth to prevent being targeted and victimized this way is to reduce the frequency of posting personal photos online. While it used to take about 200 photos to come up with a deepfake, it now takes only one.

Filmfest Munich Director Interview – Directors Reuben Hamlyn and Sophie Compton were passionate about drawing attention to the growing proliferation of deepfakes. Clips from Another Body are interspersed with their comments. Though the film focuses on negative aspects of deepfakes, they both believe there’s value in the technique. The misuse of it is the problem. The directors contacted Taylor who agreed to participate provided that her identity would be concealed. The police don’t take deepfake victims’ complaints seriously. It’s important for legislators to pass laws to mandate accountability for perpetrators. “There is a lot to be afraid of.” There’s a need for AI literacy so that deepfakes can be recognized. “At one point, you stop being a person.”

IDAFallDocs Q&A Panel – Hollywood Reporter Mia Galuppo conducts this interview and Q&A. Sophie Compton worked mostly in theater, Reuben Hamlyn primarily in film. They wanted to provide a safe space for those interviewed, so they decided to use the very technique under scrutiny to protect their identity. Taylor participated because she wanted some good to come out of a “horrible situation.” Many victims didn’t want to speak out for fear of retaliation. It was important to find a survivor brave enough to share her story. There’s a sense of violation when a woman sees her own face staring back at her in a pornographic video. It was vital to bring the viewer into what it’s like when a person is targeted with deepfakes. The tool was available to the filmmakers to show how powerful it can be and to provide anonymity to Taylor. Deepfakes have gone from hazy images 2 1/2 years ago to crystal clear, perfect fakes today. Post-production costs were high due to the care taken to leave no clues to the identities of Taylor and Julia.

SXSW Panel – This panel consists of directors Sophie Compton and Reuben Hamlyn, and Adam Dodge of EndTAB, an organization dedicated to the prevention of online abuse. Hollywood Reporter Mia Galuppo moderates. A synopsis of Another Body is presented. The use of deepfakes is widespread in the political, entertainment, and pornography fields, though the majority are used in the last with non-consenting women. The problem is growing exponentially. To the human eye, a deepfake is undistinguishable from the real thing. As documentary filmmakers, Compton and Hamlyn set rules for themselves. “Change as little as you can” was their goal. A sobering prediction is that “detection is probably something we’re not going to be able to achieve.” If criminal accountability is introduced, people will back off. Today, there are websites that are complicit in fostering the abuse of women.

Q&A with Actress Juno Temple – Much of the content in this Q&A duplicates material in the audio commentary and the SXSW Panel. Once again, Compton and Hamlyn talk about the structure of the film, finding Taylor, how they joined forced to co-direct, the effect of the documentary on festival audiences, and their hope for legislation to curb the creation of deepfakes. They’re especially angered by websites that provide tutorials on how to create hurtful doctored images.

Compton and Hamlyn have been researching deepfakes since they first appeared on Reddit in 2017. Another Body is their way of sounding the alarm about how these images are being weaponized, particularly against women. It’s not just the famous who should be concerned. As Taylor’s story unfolds, we see that what may have been a sick prank can destroy a person’s sense of privacy and safety. The film’s unsettling takeaway is that any woman in the world with a social media profile is at risk.

- Dennis Seuling