Movie Review: Jim Sturgess loses sight, finds “The Other Me”

A bartender and aspiring architect who figures to transform cities with his designs is told he’s about to go blind. His wife is stricken, not just about the disease, but about the failing marriage that she may now be trapped in.

His “I don’t have the will or the time for this” debate on their future earns a “What if you did have the will or the time? Would you still be married to me?”

His glib pal takes the news rather well.

“Come on. Let’s go to the strip club while you can still see.” And later, when our would-be architect begins hallucinating an alternate reality and confesses “I’m seeing things,” his friend quips “I thought you were going blind.”

But a walk in the woods leads the soon-to-be-blind fellow (Jim Sturgess) to the door of a beautiful blonde (Andreja Pejic). What’s her name?

“I have no name…Let us both be called nothing. Believe me, it’s better that way.”

He loses himself in a painting, and when his sight does disappear, the flashbacks/dreams/visions increase. He starts wondering if he’s seeing an alternate reality, the life of “The Other Me.”

“Soon, everything will be revealed,” the blonde lies. “Nothing will be concealed.”

The English language debut feature of Georgian filmmaker Giga Agladze (of “Gogona Slaididan”) is cryptic, quirky and sexy enough to earn the attention of David Lynch, who serves as a producer.

Maybe he liked the mystery of it all, the halting, mobius loop illogic of the dialogue. Sturgess brings a sort of “Wild at Heart” intensity to a few scenes.

But maybe Agladze got Lynch’s attention with the raspberry angel cake he has our blonde temptress offer to our anti-hero in her dacha in the woods. As if anything could beat a really good cherry pie…

The childhood flashbacks suggest our anti-hero grew up bullied by his father and schoolmates somewhere in Eastern Europe. But is that “his” reality? The hallucinations have a spare, painterly quality.

The whole affair makes barely enough sense to bother with. And then you consider the melodramatic plot twists that involve the wronged-wife (Antonia Campbell-Hughes, a delicate and wounded Charlotte Gainsbourg 2.0) and/or the glib best friend (Michael Socha).

There’s the pointless inclusion of an “ambassador” (Rhone Mitra), who hired the wife as her housekeeper.

And whatever attributes the Bosnian actress Pejic brings to the set (she was briefly in “The Girl in the Spider’s Web”), she is a dreadful actress, in English, at least.

Whatever Agladze was getting at about the difference between sight and “seeing,” plumbing the obscurant “Other Me” to discern it isn’t worth the trouble.

Rating: unrated, sexual situations

Cast: Jim Sturgess, Andreja Pejic, Antonia Campbell-Hughes, Rhona Mitra and Michael Socha

Credits: Scripted and directed by Giga Agladze. A Gravitas Ventures release.

Running time: 1:39

About Roger Moore

Movie Critic, formerly with McClatchy-Tribune News Service, Orlando Sentinel, published in Spin Magazine, The World and now published here, Orlando Magazine, Autoweek Magazine
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