Rupert, Rupert & Rupert review – disorder rules in identity satire | Film

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This low-budget British effort throws comedy, drama, tired psychological thriller conceits and some broad satire to make a bag about as mixed as they come. Sandy Batchelor, who just about earns the film a little more forgiveness with a performance that’s both ripe as old cheese but also a parody of OTT acting, stars as Rupert Lindsay, an aspiring actor afflicted with dissociative identity disorder, a condition previously known as multiple personality disorder.

Wouldn’t you know it, that affliction turns out to be a boon when his extremely angry, shouty, Scots-accented identity comes to the fore during an audition for the role of an angry, shouty puritan in what’s supposed to be a lost Christopher Marlowe play. Unfortunately, sometimes another personality, a lascivious English-accented smoothie (think Terry-Thomas on ecstasy) assumes control, and that’s not at all what the director is looking for. Worse still, his resting normal Rupert personality is simply a cruddy actor. And as he works through his issues and past traumas with a therapist (Adam Astill), getting better mentally may undo his ability to act.

Director Tom Sands sometimes plays this absurd set-up straight and sometimes like a farce, especially when those around Rupert mistake his madness for method acting. But not only is that a stale joke at actors’ expense, it also feels a bit insulting to those with real mental health issues. Dissociative identity disorder is an extremely rare condition, and one somewhat contested within the therapeutic community. To co-opt it for cheap laughs and ham-fisted melodrama is problematic, even if other films have ploughed the same field. Still, Batchelor’s hell for leather channelling of anxiety and despair is genuinely impressive at times.

Source: The Guardian
Keyword: Rupert, Rupert & Rupert review – disorder rules in identity satire | Film

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