This is my favourite discovery of the month. It doesn’t give up its meaning easily, which I respect, and the performances are engrossing. Barely ninety minutes, looks beautiful, has a startling final image, and I’m still thinking about it a day later. The opening scene—a group of well-dressed men, including Adam (or is it Anthony?), watch a woman in a club masturbate before moving to impale a live tarantula on one of her heels—creates a tone of background dread that comes to astonishing fruition in the final act.
Adam is a professor at a university in Toronto, living a repetitive existence in a bland, half-empty apartment, with a girlfriend who comes and goes. He lectures on dictatorships and the different ways they control populations. A colleague at his office suggests a film, and out of boredom Adam rents it. He notices one of the extras, Anthony Claire, looks just like him, so he decides to track him down, but Anthony doesn’t like the unexpected attention.
Adam, girlfriend Mary, Anthony, and his wife Helen, dance around each other as the fantastical fact of these two men’s identical bodies with different personalities plays out. Every scene has something in it, whether a background object or a line of dialogue, that suggests something about the mystery, but nothing prepares you for the final beat and Adam’s ambiguous reaction.