I’ve spent a fair bit of time trying to have the same person appear opposite themselves onscreen. I’ve also spent a fair bit of time trying to talk people out of doing this unless they have an interesting idea to explore (which is not to say my concept satisfied this condition – I had no one else to work with and made do). I’ve done this because to pull off this technique requires planning, time and effort. All things that I never utilize properly. I also advise against playing around with doubles because it’s something that has been overused and often feels a bit silly.
That being said I recently watched The Innocents and found they did a good job of incorporating this technique with a concept that felt fresh and interesting.
What I enjoyed most about this show was the choice to spend time with all of the characters and not focus solely on two sixteen year olds. By having three distinct age groups of characters and letting the story wander between these groups gave the show depth and interested me more than if had just been about the young lovers.
I can’t help but feel that when you have great actors, adults in particular, capable of portraying complicated emotions and dealing with “grown up” material, that this is the correct approach. I do not mean to be dismissive of the younger actors, they did an excellent job. I think I am reacting largely to a trend I see on sites like Netflix, where a great deal of programming seems to be aimed at an audience much younger than I am. I imagine this has been going on as long as there has been television and movies, but to see wonderful actors who are now shunted into the role of mom and dad and given nothing to do is depressing.
I started writing this post some time ago so my memory of this show has faded. I recall liking it but not loving it. The big “twist” is interesting in so far as they took a concept that most of us are familiar with and made it feel new. It’s easy to dismiss something like that but it is not easy to do and I commended the filmmakers for their work. Guy Pearce is always interesting and the rest of the cast was, for me, expected and welcome. If you are looking for something different and unusual, something that the algorithm has already forgotten and most likely will not send you way, I recommend checking out The Innocents.