High Concept: The Films of Denis Villeneuve


Denis VilleneuveCanada / Spain90 minutes201314AColourEnglish

In his English-language debut, Villeneuve honours the cryptic mantra of José Saramago's source novel The Double ("Chaos is order yet undeciphered") with a thriller in which surface confusion belies an underlying, spidery intricacy. Jake Gyllenhaal stars as a history professor who learns that his exact double, a bit-part movie actor, is living across town. What he discovers about the other man's life is both surreal and seductive, paradoxical qualities that are embodied by Sarah Gadon as the pregnant wife of the second of the Two Jakes. (In a film whose sinister absurdism evokes Buñuel as well as Polanski, Gadon is the obscure object of desire.) Villeneuve riffs on the theme of identity crisis via a visionary use of the Toronto skyline — juxtaposing the CN Tower's solitude with Mississauga's voluptuous twin "Marilyn Monroe" condominiums - while also serving up the freakiest insect imagery in any horror movie since The Fly (you'll know it when you see it).

DramaIdentityExperimental + Avant-gardeCanadianAdaptation