Double Lover Screen 8 articles

Double Lover


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  • Once upon a time, back when the Talking Heads were still together and we had a president who was merely senile, we used to love movies like Double Lover. . . . Director Francois Ozon — at 50, certainly old enough to recall the day — has a fonder yen, and his new film plays as though Adrian Lyne and Jean-Jacques Beineix were back in the saddle, fetishizing sweaty flesh and black lacquer.

  • It nods a bit to David Cronenberg’s “Dead Ringers” (1988) and Roman Polanski’s “The Tenant” (1976), . . and Mr. Ozon’s stylistic gymnastics sometimes bring to mind Brian De Palma, who made a film about good/bad twins early in his career. But “Double Lover,” . . . spins its influences into a frenzy that ultimately reveals the story to be very much its own thing. And a crazy, and eventually strangely moving, thing it is. As elaborate as its visuals are, the movie is also intimate.

  • It doesn't have the salacious restraint of [Swimming Pool and Under the sand], both of which are more in the classical “art-house” vein . . . , but it's difficult to malign a thriller that seeks to simply amuse, and does just that. Everything that happens feels in service of the film's genre rather than any metaphorical or observational importance or ontological musings. Ozon has a palpable reverence for this kind of sleazy escapism, and that's what makes Double Lover worthwhile.

  • De Palma would enjoy a stab at the plotting, though he’d likely have more fun with the visuals. The kinky pleasures here often verge on the goofy (a fantasy sequence in which Renier makes out with himself is achievable with some functionally untitillating CGI), and the only real fetishes—twins, couches, mirrors—are purely cinematic ones.

  • There is actually a rather impressive streak of perversity coursing through The Double Lover, but of course one has to abide a lot of sheer nonsense to access it... [Yet] this seems like it's the most genuinely engaged that Ozon has been in a long time, like he's actually having fun. The Double Lover may not be Ozon's Body Double, but at least he's gotten out of his doddy bubble.

  • Both Based on a True Story and The Double Lover play with the literary tropes of the doppelgänger and the alter ego, and the anxieties they opens up in the lives of Parisian intellectual elites. But neither film is truly satisfying, with the venerable directors content mostly to go through the motions of the kind of narrative twists the genre of the camp thriller impels, and which they themselves have amply mined in the past, rather than truly dazzle with the unexpected.

  • The result is a marvel of reflective surfaces, feline reaction shots and graphic couplings: a psychoerotic thriller trashterpiece. It also features what may be one of the greatest opening shots in the history of cinema, one that drew gasps, laughs and claps from the audience with its speculum’s-eye view of its central character.

  • In Francois Ozon’s rapturously twisted, Brian De Palma-style thriller Amant Double, a young woman suffering from possibly psychosomatic stomach pains (Marie Vacth) falls in love with her therapist (Jeremie Renier), whose secret life draws her into a web of deceit and kinky sex. Yet more proof, should you need it, that the French really know how to live.

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