The Double Life of Véronique

The Double Life of Véronique ★★★★★

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"Is that me?"
"Of course it's you"
"Why two?"
"Because during performances I handle them a lot. They damage easily."

After strong recommendation, and I mean very strong recommendation from many Letterboxd users that I highly respect (Shawn Palmquist, Dragonknight and Bruno Youn just to name a few), I was convinced the give this film a chance. And let me say, this is an experience like no other. The Double Life Of Veronique itself is beautifully crafted - from the mesmerizing shots to the eerie music selection, everything put in this film really clicks. And though this may seem like a given, it's honestly one of the hardest things to find in film.

Often, I find that directors add in unnecessary scenes or lines - one's that, though forgivable, are still observable flaws. Examples of this are included in films I absolutely loved - even in something such as Before Sunset, some of the films felt as though they could've been trimmed down, but when it comes down to the final product, I still see it as an absolutely amazing film. Yet, The Double Life of Veronique never feels as though anything should, or could be removed. At a relatively short runtime of 99 minutes, director Krzysztof Kieslowski playfully balances his material to be spread evenly throughout the entire films; therefore enabling the audience to never get tired of what they're seeing on screen.

As much as I admire the pacing and storytelling though, there are two key things that make this film above and beyond: the first being Irene Jacob's masterful performance as both Veronique and Weronika. I'm tempted to say it's one of the best performances I've seen on screen - it's equally subtle and powerful: everything that she does on screen is suggestive of a certain emotion, or mood. Yet saying this, she still feels like a real individual, one that you could meet, and that's the beauty of this film. It creates the illusion that the fantastical portion of the film could be real; by firstly emphasizing the circumstances of Veronique's life, but also through Jacob's amazing performance.

The second thing I really admired about this film is it's visual style. Never have I seen a director capture images so beautifully - through his use of colourization and framing. It's incredible to experience Krzysztof Kieslowski's colour palette in this film, it's almost reminiscent of a more subtle, 90's version of Wes Anderson. And I think while keeping the sets incredibly realistic, he allows himself a margin of creative leniency, in which he makes the film even better than it is by showcasing his keen eye for visuals.

In short, The Double Life of Veronique is everything in one package. Technically, it features a masterfully written screenplay along with a stunningly powerhouse performance from Irene Jacobs: who's equally emotional as she is subtly humane. This film is the all-in-one type of package: the performances are great, the cinematography is great and to top it all off, Kieslowski provides one of the most daring, and original premises for a film that I've ever seen brought to a big screen.

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