This latest film starring Jake Gyllenhaal has garnered rave reviews but not a lot of screens showing it. But here’s something I don’t think I’ve ever written. It is a bad film. I can see what they were trying to do with it, but it seems to have been made without looking at the end product.

Jake plays a history lecturer who seems exhausted by giving the same lecture every day then going from his faceless concrete campus to a similarly bleak tower block where he occasionally is visited by a woman who leaves before dawn. He seems to have no friends, no interests, no life.

Then he spots a man who looks identical to him and tracks him down, all rather creepy and no reasons for it. The object of his search is likewise without a life or history though his wife is pregnant.

It is bleak, I failed to engage with the characters and really didn’t care what was going on, though Gyllenhaal was good at showing the two men as slightly separate – the teacher shy, the actor more creepy and deceitful. The women were nonentities.

It was based on a story by Jose Saramago who I like, but his stories are clearly in dystopian environments. I suspect that part of the problem is that it failed to translate to an American city.

One to avoid.

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