Red Herring Lovers
François Ozon has been on my radar ever since I saw his "Swimming Pool," a crackling good tale that starred Charlotte Rampling. "Double Lover" has an equally good film hiding inside of it, but Ozon seems more intent on confusing the audience than anything else. It's a shame because there's an awful lot of good stuff in it. It reminded me of Cronenberg's "Dead Ringers", but it's not in its class.
Chloe (Marine Vacth) is a 25 year-old former model who has been suffering from stomach cramps for a long time and is told to see a psychiatrist after medical doctors cannot determine a cause for her pain.
Her shrink, Paul (Jérémie Renier), is the type who says almost nothing, making the patient talk incessantly. After a few sessions, he tells her that he can no longer treat her because he is too attracted to her. Soon they are living together in a luxurious apartment with her cat, Milo.
While everything seems right with the couple, Chloe can't help wondering why she never meets his friends and relatives. He is also secretive about some of his possessions. When she sees him in a part of the city that surprises her, that night she asks him why he was there. He tells her she is imagining things.
Soon, Chloe finds out that Paul actually has an identical twin brother who is also a psychiatrist and goes to see him under an assumed name. From there everything goes haywire and reality and fantasy merge into a mess where every other scene is a red herring. It's cute if it's done once or twice, but when it's every other scene, you can't help but become frustrated and throw up your hands in disgust.
"Double Lover" never bores, but that's never enough. You almost find yourself rooting for it all to finally make sense, but Ozon has no interest in that. He is more concerned with keeping us guessing and the result is dizzying. I can't say it's not fun, but without a coherent story, it becomes an attempt to merely fool the audience repeatedly and we all get fooled enough in our lives.
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