Monday, September 07, 2015


The deeper the mind the shallower reality


The theme is simple and quite common with Stephen King. He has often used it. A writer becomes suddenly due to some tension in his own life haunted by a doppelganger, his deeper self that he creates like a character in a story and the writer’s life becomes a story, a perfect story. The doppelganger does all the writer wants to do, wants him to do for him. It’s difficult to tell more without spoiling the story.

You will recognize Stephen King’s artful suspense when everything looks exactly like it is supposed to look and yet is just a surface that has nothing to do with reality but reality is invisible because it is all inside and when the iceberg tips out of the water it is all so well done no one can see this tip of the iceberg, let alone the iceberg.

Johnny Depp is perfect for the job because he can be both extremely disrupted, corrugated or just insane and at the same time, or just a second later, perfectly sane, charming and adorable. He just needs to change glasses or change hats or change his smile because he always smiles from grinning to grimacing via all kinds of lovable smirks. All extremes seem natural to this man who can just shift from one to the other in less than one nanosecond.

But altogether and in the end what does this short story turned long feature tell us about the world and life? Not much really except that writers are always living in a crazy world of their own and no one can understand that. They are unbearable in real life. They can have some nice moments but most of the time they live in their phantasms. And you cannot enter their minds. Luckily you can’t and don’t tell me you would like to. All that leads to dirty divorce procedures and eventually suits. Before the divorce all that leads to having lovers and intimate friends, making the writer jealous, in a way to both escape him and provoke him out of his writer’s mind.

At the very same time when you are dealing with a real writer who has a genial doppelganger, both genie and genius, the police will be helpless for at least some long, long time, because the police with all their crime scene investigation and their forensics cannot sort out the mind of an author who is not a serial killer and thus cannot be profiled. In fact his crimes are the only way he has to be reborn in a new life and there will be no series in that bloody episode.

You should like it if you let yourself go into the story as if it were true, real, life incarnate. And Johnny Depp should be able to make you believe you have entered a completely true and real world. The phantasms are only the cherry on top of the pie and the ice cream for it to be à la mode.


0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
One more film based on Stephen King. One more story about the writing process, and the writer. What if a story were to become true ? Generally the end would have to be changed to make ot more palatable for real life, that is to say more feasible. This shift from imagination to reality is entirely natural for a writer of any kind. The film insists, maybe too much, on the collateral elements of this process : alcohol, tobacco, isolatiion, a divorce or separation, the jealousy that goes along with it, etc. It does not show how the writing process itself produces this attitude. In this case we do not know for sure where the sane and calculating man is and where the limit between the writer and this calculating man is. He definitely is psychotic and cannot accept the world the way it is, so he tries to impose his vision. Are all writers psychotic ? Maybe, except if they are shizophrenic. The film is very good in many ways because we cannot see that limit and it tricks us into believing the unbelieavable, and that is frightening because it reveals something about us : we are all the victims of delusions and of the intrusion of the mental world into the real world, and the real world can trigger the mental world and even trap it into some kind of blind alley where we cannot see anything but our delusion that surges from this real world we do not see any more. It would have been better if the details had been more accurate, if any detail had been effectively connected to the sequence of events. There are too many gratuitous details that cannot be explained. It is amazing that the local police in up-state New York does not call the FBI in after the disappearance of four people connected to a divorce case, which should have made them very suspicious. As for that The Dark Half was a lot more effective, in a completely different line about another author and his imagination. In other words we do not reach the level when our believing can be carried away and captured. We are forced to enjoy the movie instead of getting intellectually trapped into a complete network of facts that cannot fail to enmesh us in a dominating belief in the truth of the story.

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