The ScapeGoat (2012)


Cast: Matthew Rhys plays two characters named John Standing (a school teacher) and Johnny Spence (an aristocrat) who have identical faces, but opposites set of minds. Let’s just say it’s the battle of the Yin and the Yang with this movie. Alice Orr-Ewing played Johnny’s neglected, eager to please wife, Francis. Sheridan Smith plays Johnny’s sister-in-law, Nina, who was secretly having an affair with Johnny. Andrew Scott played a character named Paul who is Johnny’s brother and the husband of the cheating wife, Nina. I’m sure dinner was always a fun time with this  family. Anyways, Jodhi May played Blanche, Johnny’s sister, who he seemed to have a constant battle with regarding family business.  Eileen Atkins, played the matriarch named Lady Spence who always had something clever to say to her son and still had that bit of fight within her even thought the movie made her look like she was about to take her last breath at any moments notice. Eloise Webb played “Piglet” or should I say, Mary Lou, Johnny’s very precocious and charming daughter who threatened to jump out of a window within 50 seconds if her “dad” did not run upstairs to kiss her goodnight. One of the funnier scenes, if I do say so myself. Sylvie Testud, played a sweet French single mother/artist named Bela. I was a little shocked John, who was pretending to be Johnny, slept with her, but it proves useful I guess later on in the movie, believe it or not.

Basic movie facts: This British movie was based on a novel by Daphne du Maurier which was written in 1957. The differences between this movie and the novel was that it takes place in the United Kingdom instead of France and the ending is very different from the novel. In a nutshell, John and Johnny meet and chat over how much they look alike. Johnny takes this opportunity to trick John into switching lives so that Johnny’s more sinister plans can unfold. This movie shows what a mess John has walked into, pretending to be someone he is not, but at the same time seeing the mess and wanting to fix it. A movie likes this leaves you captivated and anxious to see what happens next. This is not a boring film, believe me! I have low tolerance for boring films, but this one kept me at the edge of my seat. I really liked the ending too.

Pros: I’m always noticing camera angles and focusing dimensions when it comes to one actor playing two characters. There is a scene where Johnny and John are sitting at a table drinking coffee and the camera lens focuses from Johnny to John in the background. I thought this was very clever of the director as to keep you remembering and focusing on two very different characters, even though you know it is only one actor playing the two; it makes it truly seem like two different people sitting at the table. Matthew did an amazing job portraying both characters that you do forget it is actually him for a bit. The facial expressions between the two men are noticeable enough for you to know who is who towards the end. The cinematography was beautifully shot and very gentle with subdued hues and tones throughout the movie. This movie is not deep nor does it seem complicated to understand; it was simple with a twist of fantasy and humor. I admire how Matthew played John, who appeared utterly confused at his new surroundings, staff and family. This living situation changed him giving him a sense of family he never had before (instant wife and daughter) and a chance to renew a family that was falling apart. Is it me or do most British men seem nervous when they play some leading characters? All I kept thinking was how much Matthew Rhys reminded me of Hugh Grant in how nervous he acted at times. It was quite charming. So charming I wanted to watch “Notting Hill” again, a favorite movie of mine.

Cons: I couldn’t find much in regards of what I didn’t like about this movie. If I was forced to choose something at this moment, it would be that I didn’t like the slight haze throughout the movie. Other than that, I liked everything about this movie.

Music score: The music was beautiful in this movie, but I could not find much about it when I researched it. What a shame.

Favorite quote: There is a scene where John says to Bela, “I’m not sure where home is anymore.” Bela responds by saying, “Don’t worry. You will.”

Audience reaction: None. I watched this at home.

Relatability: I’ve always been told I look like somebody. I’ve had random strangers at the mall come up and hug me and start speaking Spanish.  After my initial shock of being mobbed by well intentioned strangers, I try to explain that I do not speak Spanish and I am not who they think I am. The most shocking and frightening experience I had with a Doppelganger was when I went out on a date with this guy and he whipped out this picture of his ex-girlfriend. Never in my life had I seen someone who looked exactly like me. It was so weird that my heart started beating faster because it took me by surprise. He later told me she had been deported back to her country because she overstayed her Visa. This made me furious because it dawned on me of why he asked me out on a date to begin with. I know I don’t have a twin and this person was not Brazilian, but it was incredibly strange to see an identical smile and face on a photograph with a person I didn’t know. What if the ICE were just driving around and they happened to see me and think that I (mistaking me for the other girl) had snuck back into the country and they threw me back on the plane to some foreign country? I shudder at the thought. Luckily, I have my passport and everything else to prove I am legal and a bona fide citizen of this country. What are your thoughts on this? Have you ever met your clone or twin? What if you did and you switched lives?