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.
DOUBLE TAKE is more hybrid film than documentary proper, essentially a modulated assemblage that feels felt into existence. Impressionistic in that sense and also funny-poetic. Convergences and associations are often opaque or just plain strange or resistant of traditional hard-and-fast sense-making. Grimonprez has been down this road before. He is the next great found footage artist after Craig Baldwin.
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.