Edicius: Review

Edicius: Review

The concept of the double is nothing new in fiction – from Poe and Dostoyevsky in the 19th century to the more recent Paul Rudd vehicle Living With Yourself, it has always held a place in the collective imagination. In each of these, whether or not there’s a feasible reason behind the sudden appearance of a perfect likeness, they generally represent a separate part of the Self – a repression, a shadow, the unconscious mind. In that sense, noted photographer Uzo Oleh’s short film debut Edicius slots neatly into that tradition, though beyond some fascinating visual flair and trickery, it doesn’t do enough to define itself as both a necessary entry into said tradition, nor a wholly successful film in its own right. 

The film drops us into the middle of yuppie lawyer Jason having a bit of a meltdown; we don’t know it yet, but he’s bitten off a touch more than he can chew, with his most recent client mixing him in with London’s underworld. When Jason’s mirror image jumps out of his bathroom cabinet claiming to be his intuition, and tells him that he holds the key to his survival, Jason starts to listen. But in the heat of the moment, he starts to doubt what he has heard. Can he trust himself?

You’re hit with a flood of exposition up top – a byproduct of the film’s taut run time and, presumably, budget. It’s not my favourite thing in the world, but I understand it. Still, finding a more engaging way to share this information with the audience would hopefully be high on a list of priorities for the filmmaker. But from there, it’s interesting enough. The lightly mind-bending proceedings are dry, but Nolan-esque enough to be silly-serious fun, and there are notable moments that will have you amazed, such as a physics-defying mental struggle between the two Jasons, as well as a unique fight sequence full of evocative tableaus. Also of note is Michael Socha’s seamless performance acting against himself as Jason, which is surely one of the hardest things to do in cinema. There’s never a moment it trips the movie up – a testament to all involved. 

Director Oleh also clearly has a refined eye, as the film is inarguably imaginatively shot and tastefully executed, nailing the sparse, drab chic of corporate London. Jason’s apartment in particular has all the warmth of a mausoleum, encasing these two halves of our protagonist in a setting that feels more eternal than a lawyer’s home has any right to.

Still, it just seems a shame to not do much with this impressive composition and rich concept beyond presenting what ultimately boils down to a generic, nihilistic British crime flick. Not that there’s a whole lot innately wrong with those of course, but it is clear that Edicius wants to be so much more, and the concept writes philosophical cheques that the screenplay can’t cash. The appearance and seemingly omnipotent knowledge of the double should raise so many moral questions, and yet, the film eschews these in favour of using it as a plot tool to get from point A to B. 

Look, there’s clearly a lot of skill in Oleh’s work, and he is able to execute a vision with technical and compositional nous, but there just isn’t enough to Jason’s story to justify the existence of this piece. This one may have overall been a close miss, but there’s enough packed into these 22 minutes to be looking expectantly at what comes next.  

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Daniel is a Sydney-based writer and filmmaker. He likes to think of himself as a man of letters - mostly of the furious, "to the editor" variety.


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