Review: The Double Lover (L'Amant Double)

Francois Ozon excels at high-octane, sexually charged melodramatic psychological-thrillers. He took a slight break from this format for 2016's Frantz - an elegant wartime set drama, but returns, firing on all cylinders for  The Double Lover (L'Amant Double). Ozon's latest pairs Marine Vacth and Jeremie Renier with support from Jacqueline Bisset in this tale of deception and dual identities.

Chloe (Vacth) is a fragile young woman who falls into a romantic relationship with her psychoanalyst, Paul (Renier). As she digs deeper into her new partner's identity, Chloe uncovers some shocking revelations - none more surprising than the fact he has a twin brother.

Ozon adapts Joyce Carol Oates's source material into a ride that pairs wonderfully overstated aesthetics and a narrative that makes no attempt to hide its unabashed trashiness.  Ozon and cinematographer Manuel Dacosse fill The Double Lover with gleefully unsubtle signs of duplicity ensuring this is a theme that lurks in every orifice of the film. This duplicity continues into the cast's performances from Renier's dual roles as the sweet Paul and the rough, aggressive Louis. Bisset also steps into a dual role of a figure from Paul's past and Chloe's suffering mother.

The Double Lover is packed with both alluring sensuality (channelled through Chloe's relationship with the sensitive Paul) and a high-octane rough sexual aggression (explored through the Louis' dynamic). Ozon's film is undeniably titillating (with Vacth and Renier leaving little to the imagination). Ozon's aesthetics unveil a similarly unashamed attitude to the film's sexuality opening with an internal shot of its lead's vagina. That's the level that Ozon is working at here - and the best thing you can do is sit back and embrace the smut.

Ozon's narrative attempts to inject some intrigue into the proceedings - thanks to an unreliable heroine and a mix of conventional psychological thriller tropes (dream sequences, suspicious supporting players) - yet The Double Lover feels like a somewhat open and closed case in terms of its narrative track. However, Ozon occasionally manages to slip the rug from our feet on the odd occasion and is subsequently an incredibly fun watch for it. Cat themed subplots, Bisset getting a few opportunities to chew the scenery ("Dirty hussy! Little whore!" is all I'll say) and shameless exploitation of Renier's bum make Ozon's latest an unrelenting treat.

the double lover 7295656804168035407
Home item


Culture Fix Content


Follow Us

Like Us

Track of the Week

Album of the Week

Album of the Week

Blog Archive