Friday 24 September 2010

The Double

It's so long since I read Ruth Rendell's short story 'The Double' that I'd pretty much forgotten it. So I decided to grab the chance to watch a tv adaptation from the 90s when it popped up on TV. I'm glad I did, because it reminded me what a fine short story writer Rendell is, while not feeling padded out, as some short stories do when adapted for the screen.

There's a characteristically creepy Rendellesque feel about the set-up. A lovely, virginal young woman with a leaning towards superstition is the daughter of a wealthy widow who is trying to make contact with her dead husband in the spirit world. The daughter, Lise, is engaged to a raffish young stockbroker, who sees her as a meal ticket, and is desperate to take her virginity. When they visit an arty show, Lise talks about a superstition that, if you see your double, you will soon die.

Guess what? Lise sees her double. This is sexy, and not in the least virginal, Zoe, who makes a play for the stockbroker as soon as Lise goes off with her mum for a spiritual trip abroad. There is a doom-laden atmosphere throughout this screenplay, which does justice to Rendell's disturbing literary style. I enjoyed this a great deal, and really rather more than I expected.

A word for the lead actors. Jason Flemyng is pretty charismatic, and someone I've seen several times before, but Camilla Power, who played both the 'twins' was unfamiliar to me - but very appealing, and very good in the dual roles.


Anonymous said...

Martin - Sounds like a very well-done adaptation! Glad to hear you enjoyed it so well.

pattinase (abbott) said...

martin-No forgotten book today? Next week I am taking a break. See you the week after.

Martin Edwards said...

Thanks, both. Yes, Patti, in a fortnight - time ran out on me today!