Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐ – 4/5.
Author: Feargal Agard | Runtime: 107 min. | Director: François Ozon | Year: 2017.
Freaky, elegant and amazing are words that come to my mind after seeing this film. Going into this film without any major expectations made it even better for me, because everything was so unexpected. L’amant Double is a beautiful dramatic thriller about the self-discovery journey of Chloé the main character.
L’amant Double is about a young lady named Chloé (Marine Vacth). She is quite fragile as she deals with a depression and strange stomach aches that seem to accompany her symptoms. She decides to go into psychotherapy where she is treated by Paul Meyer (Jérémie Renier). During the sessions she decides to flirt with Paul and by the time that she has been healed they have fallen in love. Several months later they move in together as a couple. It doesn’t take long for her to discover that her boyfriend is hiding a part of his life. First she discovers that he has a different last name and later that he has a twin brother with whom he shares a dark past. Her journey to unravel the truth brings her unto a dangerous path. Will she survive it?
L’amant Double was directed by François Ozon and the screenplay which is based on the novel “Lives of the Twins” by Joyce Carol Oates was written by Ozon. The film was selected to compete for the Palme d’Or in the main competition section of the 2017 Cannes Film Festival. The film could be seen as a self-discovery story on two levels –the main character discovering herself and discovering the man she loves– and it impressively keeps the plot unpredictable, which is hard to achieve these days. Thematically the narrative deals with manipulation, love, romance, deceit, self-discovery, dualism and psycho thriller aspects. The two latter themes create a dramatic concoction that fools the audience and makes us believe that the characters are going absolutely crazy. The film stars Marine Vacth, Jérémie Renier, Jacqueline Bisset, Myriam Boyer and Dominique Reymond.
Marine Vacth made a very believable performance. She is intelligent when it comes to her slightly manipulative skills whilst remaining a genuine and elegant character. Her emotions urge you to sympathize and experience her character. While she is a timid person, her personality shows traits that make her character extremely versatile. From fragile to strong, from seductive to gentle, she is all of these in one. Jérémie Renier marvelously plays two characters and when it comes to their appearance and persona, he really makes it seem like they are not one and the same person. Lucky as he is, he gets to play two totally opposite characters. Paul is collected and laid back and his brother is in essence a beast, wild, manipulative and abusive. He does a great job at portraying a dualist craziness that adds to the psycho thriller nature of this film.
The cinematography is very intriguing. They made a great effort playing around with some new cinematographic ideas. Although playing around with shallow focus isn’t new, the fact that they created a very unique positioning of characters and mise-en-scene in using shallow focus and rack focusing it back and forth is very commendable. They utilized these new techniques a lot and I haven’t seen them before in any other films. When it comes to the tone of the film I did not feel that they played around with seasons or colors influenced by weather changes as much. Throughout the whole film colors, tones and moods went a natural course. Yes, the film became darker when the plot progressed towards a suspenseful moment, but the setting around these moments were natural. For example when a suspenseful moment happened at night and then it obviously is going to be dark outside. Then again throughout the film it seemed like it was always autumn, a slight gray tone that made everything seem a little sad and dark.
L’amant Double is a very original narrative and it was made in a gorgeous way. As I’ve probably said before, there is something very enchanting to French films. Especially when they are of this magnitude. Do not expect a scary thriller film, or a psychological thriller in a Hollywood style, but allow your attention to be captured by the beauty of this unique film.
In Dutch theatres as from the 3th of august 2017.
Genre: Drama, thriller, romance | Language: French | Dutch Distributor: September Film Distribution.
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