REVIEW: Ego (2021)

dir. Alfonso Cortés-Cavanillas

What would you do if, whilst scrolling through a dating app, you found yourself? Would you report it, or try and deal with it alone? This is what Paloma (María Pedraza) does when met with her identical self, and whilst it seems like a fun coincidence at first things soon turn sinister as she interacts with her doppelganger.

Based on Fyodor Dostoevsky’s novella The Double, Ego plays on uncertainties about dating apps, stolen identities and catfishing whilst also exploring the effects that the pandemic and subsequent lockdowns had on our psyches, neatly tapping into the rollercoaster many of us have been through.

Is Paloma’s mirror-self real, or is this her own made-up way of getting through a hard time? Cortés-Cavanillas handles such ambiguities well, with Pedraza’s outstanding performance emanating anxiety: one can feel her heart-stopping depression in every scream, whilst she’s equally convincing as Paloma’s double. It’s the kind of performance that can make a star.

Cortes-Cavanillas’ direction is similarly impressive, giving viewers moments of real terror. At times it may be a little murky but he successfully brings back the feelings of the pandemic, spinning a heart-breaking and gripping ride with a chaotic final act. Highly recommended.

Mark Goddard


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