The Other Me
by Matt Weiner
It’s understandable that The Other Me leans heavily on its David Lynch connections. Lynch receives top billing as executive producer, and writer-director Giga Agladze also chairs the Caucasus arm of the David Lynch Foundation. It’s unfortunate, then, that the movie’s allegory on identity and gender ends up being more ponderous than meditative.
It starts with a promising enough mystery. An architect (played by Jim Sturgess and credited as Irakli, although most of the characters go nameless in the film in suitably allegorical fashion) is slowly losing his sight. As his condition in the regular world deteriorates, he begins to sense a deeper reality to the people and things in his life in a series of visions that range from illuminating to terrifying.
So far, so Lynchian enough. The Other Me unfolds as part fairytale, part metaphorical odyssey, so the stilted dialogue can get a pass. But Irakli’s visions and flashbacks never rise to match the sense of awe we’re supposed to be taking away from them.
Irakli finds himself drawn to a mysterious woman in the woods (Andreja Pejic), while drifting more and more apart from his wife (Antonia Campbell-Hughes). These women are given the thankless tasks of trying to convey a lot of emotional angst in short, inane conversational bursts.
Buried somewhere deep down in the film’s philosophical journey is the germ of a mystery that might have worked. A romcom setup that turns into a nightmare when seeing the nonstop revelations of people’s souls takes an untenable psychic toll instead of getting you laid? Now that’s a surreal thriller.
But that isn’t this film. Agladze opts for a more redemptive tone—and far more muted visuals. As far as allegories for sexual identity go, this one lacks the coherence and conviction to deliver anything more provocative than that. Inscrutability by itself is a poor substitute for depth.