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Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 17.95%
Average: 0%
Pretty Bad: 2.56%
Total Crap: 23.08%

1 review, 33 user ratings

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Double Life of Veronique, The
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by Greg Muskewitz

"No need for a double life, when the first is not worth mention."
1 stars

Parallelism in relation to characters has always been an intriguing subject in movies for me. Whether it be tracing the life of one person gone down several paths, such as Sliding Doors, or viewing something done several times over like in Run Lola Run, or living a portion of your life and be given the chance to do it over as in Twice Upon Yesterday are simple examples all done very well. So for The Double Life of Veronique, it seems just as interesting to follow two almost identical people in opposite places, living very similar lives. But that’s not how the half of it goes.

That’s pretty much where the intrigue ends. Where the plot mentioned something about two identical women, completely unrelated (one lives in France, the other in Poland), born at the same time and both gifted with unmatchable singing voices. One was supposed to see the other in a brochure, and search for her double in another country. That synopsis as as totally misleading as it is wrong. The women, Veronika and Veronique are both played by Irene Jacob. As the movie starts, we know little about them, and it stays quite the same. Veronique goes to Poland for vacation, and at one point the two women occupy the same place at the same time (and of course, without realizing it, the one takes a picture of the other only to be discovered near the end). But that’s the only time. Shortly thereafter, Veronika dies at a singing recital. Blam! like that, she’s gone, and we’re at the under 30-minute mark.

This offsets Veronique, who feels a piece of her has died, to go back. She really doesn’t search for anything --she’s just there. Veronique doesn’t learn anything about her or even realize Veronika’s existence until the end; she just flounders on, mourning nothing. An inexplicable advancement involves a puppeteer stalking Veronique (which has no significance or revelation by the end, except for his motive which is only minutely touched upon), and Veronique promising to purge herself in court, saying that a lady’s husband (never mind who this lady is) slept with her 13 times. The dead-end occurrences stay continuous, just as when the husband is smoking on her doorstep out of nowhere.

The Double Life of Veronique tries to be something it is not; it wants to be mysterious, yet there is no mystery. It wants to be psychologically logical, but it ends up being ineptly illogical. The premise sounded, or at least read to be interesting, but the movie fails to build. After a while, its promise wore out and it seemed stranded in development --or lack thereof. One feels the sense that there should have been something more, but nothing plot-wise was gained. In fact, the movie often succeeds into dropping in stretches of tedium and boredom. Krzysztof Kieslowski, of the Blue, White, and Red trilogy, emanates no sense of direction in his narrative. There is nothing compelling in his characters beyond the initial interest. Kieslowski’s slow pacing mixed with an ugly color scheme and nothing above average in the technical department, viewers quickly despondent for any difference in the movie’s duration. The red and green cinematography by Slawomir Idziak are distracting, out of place, and obscure the entirety of the image. After just a brief duration, it becomes annoying and unbalanced.

Irene Jacob, for what minimal material she’s given, handles it with grace, libidinousness, and she is quite able of antiquating herself to the camera --clothed or not. Jacob is no doubt a beauty of the screen, but what skin she shows is not enough to sustain a hypnotic interest into the story, and she looks additionally uncomfortable during her love scenes. Jacob looks equally as lost as far as figuring out the being of her character. All the other cast members were made out to be uninteresting and third string. Given, the movie is about Veronique/Veronika, but supporting characters are integral, and lack here.

Kieslowski shares the writing credit with Krzysztof Piesiewicz, and the script itself is mostly where the trouble resides. Veronique was done no justice, and the state of its undevelopment led to a state of limbo. Not only difficult for the viewers to stay content, but the actors as well looked stuck in the convolution of the screenplay. Veronique needs no double life, at least not until she can handle her first.

Final Verdict: D-.

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originally posted: 06/02/00 00:24:44
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User Comments

5/13/14 Michael Clark Greg? Why would you focus on the plot of this film? Go back to watching hollywood films... 5 stars
5/26/12 Derrida It's sad that a lot of people are falling into this shallow beauty. 1 stars
5/27/09 G McLoughlin Badly written, pedestrian cinematography, unintentionally clueless to it's own story. 2 stars
4/24/09 brian Greg Muskewitz's review is inexplicably idiotic. This is a masterpiece. 5 stars
2/13/09 rozebud He is deaf and blind to the beauty of this film. 5 stars
5/29/08 apostolos how old the reviewer is?shame on him 5 stars
7/13/07 William Goss I may not quite get it, but I know that I like it. 4 stars
3/16/07 Hog Jesus has this guy ever watched anything the slightest bit surreal or mood driven? 5 stars
3/12/07 JoJo I concur. This person should stick to reviewing films like "Ghost Rider" 5 stars
12/09/06 Aubrey Hepstein "The dead-end occurrences stay continuous" - please sack this reviewer 5 stars
3/20/06 Jason B She looks uncomfortable in the love-scenes because she's meant to. 5 stars
8/22/05 PBobcat Seems the reviewer has missed the point of this beautiful, haunting film 5 stars
5/11/05 mwildema well i liked it 4 stars
4/22/05 Jay Beautiful composition, beautiful music, beautiful story. 5 stars
6/25/04 John Forde Greg needs to smell some coffee - this film is moving! 5 stars
5/25/04 Nick Grigoriou Not for all tastes, nor a masterpiece, but worth a look 4 stars
12/01/03 smarlie subtle, poetic, misty but penetrating creat a sentimental atmosphere. 5 stars
4/26/03 Jonathan Haak Pure,Spacious,beautiful,ethereal, beyond class and a worthy preview to the colours 5 stars
2/05/03 Kaly So obscure, it's meaningless. And boring. 1 stars
7/09/02 zzzzsnoopy one of the best 5 stars
5/25/02 Dee Rah Beautiful and thoughtful 5 stars
9/14/01 Pedro Frejlich Awesome 5 stars
8/24/01 Brad Hissing This film is like a dream: elliptical, inscrutable and haunting. Realize this and enjoy! 5 stars
3/24/01 Carl Smotricz Slow-moving, melancholic and confusing but I want to see it again. Irčne J. is a goddess! 4 stars
3/11/01 Franki Birrell Loved the music and can't find any credits on this aspect 4 stars
2/16/01 Sarah a beautiful,sensual,subtle and enchanting offbeat film 5 stars
12/12/00 Joan Nevel Yes, its subtle, but thats the point. 5 stars
12/07/00 Christopher Myst What are you convincing yourself to like this? waste of celluliod. 1 stars
10/03/00 Janna Curtis Greg Muskewitz?! Just check out his sexist profile--what an idiot!!! 5 stars
10/03/00 Praxis Praxis This is a work of profound insight & beauty... (despite Greg Muskewitz's incomprehension). 5 stars
7/30/00 Nathan Caswell Kieslowski proves himself the most truthful filmaker of the past 25 years. 5 stars
7/12/00 Olga Redmond Greg Muskewitz are you kidding?? Not one of Kieslowski's best but.. 4 stars
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  20-Sep-1991 (R)



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