Double Take…: Our Review of ‘Fugue’ (2018)

Posted in Movies, Theatrical by - April 06, 2023
Double Take…: Our Review of ‘Fugue’ (2018)

Fugue is a movie that some heralded as a festival favourite. It then played the circuit well before society was ever worried about the pandemic. It certainly begs the question as to why it’s coming out now. We’re especially considering this because there was a good 18 months before its inital release and when things got really crazy. The director made and released another film in this 5 year time period. She came out with The Silent Twins, her second feature (in terms of being made). Now Fugue is out, again, and its direction is not in question. That said, the choice of scripts that Agnieszka Smoczynska keeps choosing to direct are certainly choices.

The film starts to focus on Alicja (Gabriela Muskala – the screenwriter) as she is in an amnesic state, essentially, wandering around town. As two years pass we discover she’s a patient in a mental institution. Her doctor wants to see if anyone can help identify this mysterious woman. He comes up with an idea to put her on tv and give her exposure to see if anyone recognizes his patients. Somehow, this miraculously works, and it turns out that Alicja is actually Kinga, a woman who has a husband and a son. Throughout her journey, the movie takes its audiences on a Jason Bourne journey where her memory slowly comes back. And she slowly discovers how she found herself in the predicament we first meet her in.

What works exceptionally well is Agnieszka Smoczynska direction as it is simply sublime and haunting. There is so much imagery and artistic choices that shock the audiences and linger with them long after the film ends. This includes a beautifully done MRI scene that is simply breathtaking. With the astonishing direction, Fugue leaves an impact on the audience that transcends the film itself. The script by Gabriela Muskala is a little shaky and could use some extra fine tuning. But it is her performance as both Alicja and Kinga that carries the film. Her performance is truly captivating as we follow two different versions of the same woman. She struggles to figure out what happened to her, while her husband and child try to see this stranger as the person they’ve known.

Fugue captures some incredible direction and marvelous performance from its leading actress who pulls double duty as screenwriter where the film occasionally falters. Its beautiful imagery and intense performances evoke an audience connection that will carry them throughout the film. If nothing else, Fugue will leave audiences with a world of beauty and horror. It explores that world through the mesmerizing direction and creative choices to show the past and fragility of duality.

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My earliest movie memory, outside of my home theatre in my basement, was going to the local Video 99 and wanting to rent ET only to be told by the shop owner it was playing down the street in theatres. My love for cinema has been alive for as long as I can honestly remember. I would frequent the cinema minutes down from my house daily. It was a second home. Movies are an escape from the everyday world, a window into the soul, a distant friend. If I’m not watching a movie, I’m probably watching a tv show, if I’m doing neither I’m asleep. Feel free to interact me at @Dubsreviews
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