Friday, October 2, 2009


A scientist working to create mind-controlled robotic arms for disabled people becomes increasingly stressed out by his work. One day, with no real explanation, his is confronted by a mysterious double, a more aggressive and conniving version of himself, who offers to help him with the project. Unlike in other films and stories with a similar premise, the doppelganger doesn't seem to want to kill him or take over his life so much as he wants to act out all the scientist's unconscious desires.

I've admired all of the previous Kiyoshi Kurosawa films I have seen. Pulse, Seance and especially Cure are all well-crafted horror films heavy on moody atmosphere and dread. Doppelganger seems to start off that way, but gets lost in endless, uninteresting subplots before eventually abandoning most of the atmosphere for slick style (with split-screen and everything), while often veering towards broad comedy. And I get it, Kurosawa is exploring the idea of the double by having a movie that is similarly split; sometimes it's a horror film sometimes its an oddball comedy. I admire Kurosawa's balls for making a movie like this. I knew he had a penchant for making weird films, but not weird in this way. Ultimately, though, it's slow and not much fun to watch, the horror isn't as effective as in his other films, and the comedy is only fitfully funny. Call it a unique failure.

No comments: