Director: Kiyoshi Kurosawa

Reviewed by Paghat the Ratgirl

More of a science fiction tale than horror as advertised, with a droll sense of humor, Doppelganger stars Koji Yakusho as Hayasaki, an inventor working on a mind-operated wheelchair with waldo arms for use by paraplegics. He peaked many years earlier as a medical inventor & his "body robot" just isn't working out.

Descending into anger & depression, he inexplicably divides into two versions of himself, the angry inventor who feels a little helpless, & a self-assured violently dangerous double who sees what he wants & stops at nothing to get it.

Director Kiyoshi Kurosawa often creates films with irrational plotlines that go nowhere interesting, elegant & slick but very dissatisfying as stories. With Doppelganger he manages to create both a fine film for character, & an effective story.

The special FX are unshowy yet subtly fantastic, as there is relatively little back-of-head body double stuff, & plenty of scenes where the scientist & his doppelganger circle one another, touch each other, convincing & practically invisible digital work.

The ending meanders a lot as the key characters play tag on a cross-country auto journey, & the climax is very small & a little too cute. But the relationship between Hayasaki & himself is remarkably well developed. He begins terrified of his doppelganger, then develops what approaches being a friendship, then comes to hate his double. Koji Yakusho who came close to becoming an international sensation in Shall We Dance is simply a terrific actor.

copyright by Paghat the Ratgirl

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