Trouble (Fr)

An excellent account of repressed memories, displacement and sibling conflict, recalling portions of Cronenborg’s “Dead Ringers” (which, through no coincidence, the Cinemuerte fest played the trailer for just before this film) in style and tone, Harry Cleven’s film combines Cronenbergian dread and horror with Hitchockian twists and turns to create a great, modern French/Belgian thriller.

Matyas (Benoit Magimel), a photographer who lives a seemingly happy life with his wife and adolescent son, one day comes to find that a mother whom he thought was long since deceased has only just passed away. For the reading of the will, he is further shocked to discover at the lawyer’s office that he also has a long-lost twin brother of whose existence he previously had no clue about! Thomas (again played by Magimel, through the solid use of special effects) is Matyas’ complete double, with the style in how they each comb their hair being the only way to tell them apart, outside of a difference in wardrobe.

Soon, however, Thomas is even styling his own hair to that of Matyas’ and wearing his clothes, which starts the confusion of identities, and which soon begins unlocking Matyas’ repressed memories…memories which previously offered no clue that he had a twin brother, but only obscure, disturbing nightmares. It’s Matyas’ search for these repressed memories and his hidden past that begin to illustrate a series of unsettling events from his childhood, and how they will come into play with his current life, and of how Thomas fits menacingly into this new scenario, even as he insinuates himself into the life of Matyas’ family.

Performances by everyone in the film are excellent, especially from Magimel, who carries off the difficult scenario of working opposite himself. The special effects used in creating two different brothers are, as previously noted, solid. The level of tension in the film grows constantly as Matyas begins to recall more and more elements to his past, and how Thomas seemingly intends to manipulate his world to his own ends, and the frustration of seeing his family fall for Thomas’ character over his own.

Special mention should also be made to the cinematography of Vincent Mathias, whose use of deep reds in the film subtly reveal themselves, recalling again Cronenborg’s “Dead Ringers” in style, but yet maintaining his own individual touch. Also, the original music of composer George Van Dam was very effective in offering both a dreamlike vibe, as well as creating suspenseful atmosphere throughout.

I must say, it often amazes me how the mantle of such directors as Hitchcock have been successfully interpreted by European filmmakers, and “Trouble”, under director Harry Cleven’s direction, is no exception. It’s too bad that North American filmmakers often fail in creating such effective thrillers as their Euro counterparts. It might be difficult to see “Trouble” in North American theatres anytime soon, but should you encounter it on DVD in your local video store, I’d highly recommend that you rent it.

Official Score