Double Lover (Ozon, 2017)

Sorry to rain on any parades, but I’m of the opinion that Double Lover’s trashiness is not of the commendable type. Firstly because the starring role becomes a cipher for a lot of misogynistic impulses, to the point where she stops being a character and turns into a projection of what the men here want her to be (namely, a model-thin sex toy with a hefty temper). And secondly because the script is a mess of scrambled tropes that lead to nothing in particular. Twins and mirrors and strange offspring and kinky sex, all used with banal frankness and without an ounce of true panache and skill. It’s also amazing that all the exposition Ozon squeezes into the first two acts actually foretells everything in his ending, so that any and all twists are rendered null and void on impact. If you’re not going to even try pulling a fast one on us, then why bother even make a psychosexual erotic thriller at all? Just put on a pot of tea and crack open the marmalade, why don’t you?

Vacth and Renier should be commended for their commitment here, as the material hardly does them any favours to begin with. Renier, in particular, shows that he can make a fun go of it by playing both the Good and Evil Twin roles very well. It’s also nice to see Jacqueline Bisset pop in and steal some scenes—if only there were more of them! Ozon’s direction, meanwhile, shows slightly more abandon than his screenplay, such as that ridiculously brilliant match cut from a vagina to an eyelid. That’s one of the few moments where the film’s potential leaps out and makes you hope that it’ll continue on that path. Alas, not so. Everything else is surrounded by mediocrity and a gross kind of tackiness, so that the pleasures are few and the trials many.

Well, François, not this time, I’m afraid. Write a better script, and then we’ll talk.