The Double Life of Véronique

The Double Life of Véronique ★★★★½

Krzysztof Kieślowski was truly one of cinemas revolutionaries – a man with all the capabilities to portray the systematic breakdown of the human form in the most damning of manners. In the first entry of his Three Colours trilogy, simply titled Blue, Kieślowski’s dramatic force isolates the viewer and breaks the realms of the conventional film in a way that could affect even the strongest of viewers, likewise in the following entries, Red, and White, the sheer force of his cinematic prowess comes to the forefront to complete one of the most mesmeric and extraordinary pieces of cinema in existence.

Blue, is the superior entry – and one of my utmost favourite films – but The Double Life of Veronique shows the man exploring a whole new world. Released just two short years prior to Blue, The Double Life of Veronique presents to the viewer one of the most traumatic and visceral experiences ever created. Led by the devastating talent of Irene Jacob, who would later portray Red’s protagonist, Kieślowski’s film analyses the imperious life situations she faces. As soon explored in the Three Colours trilogy, The Double Life of Veronique’s purpose isn’t just to tell a narrative, but to construct and simultaneously destroy all the elements of life.

One of my favourite aspects of Kieślowski’s work in the Three Colours trilogy, most notably Blue, is the framing. Each shot is crafted and labelled in such a devastating, divine fashion that gives the film its ultimate message – we are watching over the world of a person, torn apart by her life and struggling with all her might to survive. While, we as viewers regularly deem horror and thriller films to illustrate atmosphere, Kieślowski’s films are one of the finest examples I've ever seen to truly master the art in such a way that the viewer feels engulfed in the tale that is unfolding before their eyes.

Irene Jacob’s work here must not go unnoticed. Portraying such a character is a challenge for even the most colossal of talents, but her work here is truly remarkable. The life of a character is born because of the performance of its creator, and she handles herself in a way that I've never seen before. Her work is largely impressive in Red, but here she interprets the emotions and trauma her character faces and delivers one of the most divine performances in all of cinema.

The final moments are some of the most alluring I’ve ever seen, and while I have my minor problems, The Double Life of Veronique remains one of the most provocative and delicately crafted films I've ever seen.

Lee liked this review