The Image of You

Review by Rich Cline | 3/5

The Image of You
dir Jeff Fisher
scr Chris Sivertson
prd David M Wulf
with Sasha Pieterse, Parker Young, Nestor Carbonell, Mira Sorvino, Michele Nordin, Ben Milliken, Rebekah Graf, Anne Sward, Mark Provencher, Ogy Durham, Kate Rachesky, Shane Josephs
release US 10.May.24
24/US Republic 1h30

young carbonell sorvino

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pieterse and pieterse
Opening with a flash of violence, this movie establishes a goofy romcom vibe before revealing its true identity as a wannabe erotic thriller. It's over-designed to within an inch of its life, as everything looks shiny and new, including the actors. Meanwhile, script layers in bonkers plot points, while the filmmakers have some fun with the steamy premise. So as it becomes progressively nuttier, it becomes surprisingly entertaining.
For 31 years, Anna and Zoe (both played by Pieterse) have never been apart, identical except for their starkly contrasting sweet and sultry personalities, respectively. When Anna meets the gorgeous stock trader Nick (Young), she begins to think he's the one for her. But Zoe is clearly annoyed that they're so loved-up, as is Nick's sister Rebecca (Nordin), especially when they announce their engagement after two months. Then Zoe launches a seductive onslaught which Nick is powerless to resist. And he becomes terrified that Anna is going to find out what he's done.
Of course, that's nothing compared to what's coming, and each plot point is telegraphed with ominous chords of music. There are also plenty of corny touches, such as the convenient fact that Anna and Zoe are wealthy trust fund kids with a caring mother (Sorvino) and aloof dad (Carbonell). Anna's sunshiny niceness knows no bounds, and she even dives in to support Nick when his mother (Sward) is diagnosed with cancer. By contrast, Zoe is cynical and slutty.

Pieterse makes it clear which twin she's playing at any given moment, although the disparities between them don't make much sense. While we know there will be have to be some sister-swapping along the way, it doesn't happen as expected. The vampy Zoe's first meeting with Young's hapless Nick is a riot of noir frothiness, at which point the movie's lustiness shifts up several gears, offering some sweaty interludes before the violence returns.

Once the narrative takes its first messy turn, the film spirals into a series of wild twists that would be flatly ridiculous if the movie wasn't so absurdly fun to watch. The plot is so deranged that we can't help but enjoy the increasingly frenzied nastiness, even if the suspense doesn't quite grab hold. So even if the movie is never quite as slick as the filmmakers plainly think it is, it has a trashy charm that almost makes it deserving of cult classic status, perhaps for the wrong reasons.

cert 15 themes, language, violence, sexuality 7.May.24

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© 2024 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall