Alfred Hitchcock is unwittingly caught up in a double take on the Cold War. As television hijacks cinema, Khrushchev debates Nixon, and sexual politics quietly take off, Hitchcock himself blackmails housewives with offers they can’t refuse…
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Grimonprez and McCarthy are a couple of very knowing characters, so it's no surprise that they made such a knowing film together. Still, as amusing and clever as their cold war critique/pastiche/piss-take consistently is, it nevertheless feels a bit forced and faded, as dated in its way as the Folgers ads it recurringly mocks. Not quite fresh-perked, this cuppa postmodernism.
Grimonprez' meta-doc has prelingerian mood. There's also a bit of Paul Virilio - e.g. media and war, the discussion on what matters more, space exploration or television (obviously, television: => as we all know popular culture killed Communism in the Eastern block). Good stuff.
It gets off to an uneasy start, trying to interweave conventions of the archival documentary with post-modern pontificating. But eventually does coalesce into a very engrossing experimental work, though some elements are more compelling than others. Flawed, but fascinating.
Director Grimonprez and scripter Tom McCarthy have crafted a lovely puzzle box of a film using archival footage splicing together the cold war, Alfred Hitchcock, old Folgers commercials and more into a clever narrative. For the film and history buff a delight if one can keep one's tongue firmly in cheek.
I'm not exactly sure what the hell was supposed to be going on here but once I was no longer disoriented I kind of enjoyed it. Double Take definitely got an emotional reaction out of me (ganking the score from Psycho did most of the work) and by the end I didn't mind any of the nonsense along the way.
Barely narrative but still engaging, this deft and subtle bit of collage blends historical footage of the cold war, space race and Cuban missile crisis with Hitchcock's The Birds, television shows and advertisements, a pseudo-interpolated Borges short story and a credit roll that rapidly struggles to suggest little has changed since Sputnik went up. Utterly timely but a bit difficult and only moderately rewarding.