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Stars: Jake Gyllenhaal, Mélanie Laurent, Sarah Gadon, Isabella Rossellini

Director: Denis Villeneuve

Whatever happened to films that rattled along? This one is just so slow (and murky) to begin with, modishly shot in various shades of brown. The pace (and the cinematography) picks up a little bit as the story develops, but the end leaves us as much in the dark as the opening scene, where one of Gyllenhaal's two lookalike characters attends an orgy involving voluptuous naked women and rather large spiders.

Adam Bell (Gyllenhaal) is a somewhat harassed university lecturer who has a rather rocky relationship in bed with his girlfriend (or hired hooker, we're never sure) - that's Laurent - and otherwise leads a rather cloistered life.

When a friend suggests that he watches a particular DVD, Adam spots that it features, in a small role, an actor who is his exact double. What's the big deal? Well, Adam makes a major deal of it and, when the two finally meet, it appears that they may be long-lost conjoined twins.

Anthony, Adam's alter ego (or long-lost twin) proposes that Adam will never see him again if he (Anthony) can spend a weekend with Laurent, while Adam tentatively approaches Anthony's pregnant wife (Gadon). Is this all in Adam's mind? Or is the director just bent on making a seriously weird film involving naked women and big spiders?

A strange and eerie piece at any rate, and all very Kafkaesque for those with patience and 90 minutes to kill.

David Quinlan

Canada/Spain 2013. UK Distributor: Curzon Film World. Technicolor.
90 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 2, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 2.

Review date: 02 Jan 2015