Adam (Jake Gyllenhaal) is a university lecturer who is in a failing
relationship with his girlfriend Mary (Mélanie Laurent), and who sees a
film with a minor actor, Anthony (also Gyllenhaal) who looks remarkably
like him. Mystified, he tracks the actor down, discovering that Anthony
is living with his pregnant wife Helen (Sarah Gadon), who suspects
Anthony of continuing an ongoing affair.
What follows is a brilliantly complex thriller that does not let the
viewer relax one iota. Based on the novel The Double by Nobel
laureate José Saramago, director Denis Villeneuve keeps applying
constant tension, greatly aided by a spectacular score by Danny Bensi &
Gyllenhaal gives a fine performance in the dual role, capturing the
aggressive personality of Anthony while at the same time making Adam
reticent, nervous personality believable.
This is a movie that one should attend without reading any movie reviews
that give a hint of what’s going on. Javier Gullón has crafted a
perceptive script that keeps one wondering what’s really going on here
until the movie ends. Then you have time to think about it and put all
the hints together to come up with what is really happening on the
Although Gyllenhall’s performance is exceptionally well done, the person
who most captivated me was Anthony’s wife, played by Gadon. There is one
scene while she is in bed with someone and just stares at him with
questioning eyes that still lingers in my memory.
This psychological thriller might not be for everyone, especially if you
don’t like to have to work to determine who the characters are and how
they all fit together. But if you do, this is a rewarding experience.
Villeneuve describes the complex film as well as anyone could. “The
logical point of view of the film,” he says, “needs to be blurry and
daring – a challenge for the mind. But from the emotional point of view
it’s very important that there is a clear path.” It’s that clear path
that only became clear to me well after the film had ended.
February 4, 2014