Before anyone knew that Cordelia existed, there was that poster. The seductive and erotic positioning of the two leads had everyone speculating as the image went viral. No one had seen this sort of positioning, at least on a poster for a film before. The fact that this psychological thriller was shrouded in mystery for so long just gained anticipation. With flecks of horror and even supernatural creeping into the frame, the film was shaping up to a very different form from what that first image hinted at but oh my way this was worth the wait.
Suffering from disturbing visions, emotional imbalance, and irrational fears, once a promising actress, Cordelia is left alone for the first time in years after her sister goes away for the weekend. She meets her neighbour Frank, a cellist, and the two seem to share an unusual bond. As the weekend goes on, her encounters with Frank take a dark turn, she literally unravels, becoming confused and disturbed.
Just like any thriller, you expect something to be amiss when identical twins are involved. There are several scenes in the film that feel they are just part of the fabric of the story and the character of Cordelia but they also appear as red herrings. These other elements make you search for something that never happens and the ultimate story seems far more threatening. Enticed into the world of Cordelia, we don’t need to understand her, or fully know why she sees phantoms or why she greets them so passively. We just need to know that something is not quite right. The appearance of Frank her equally odd neighbour who befriends her very quickly despite having lived above her for a long while, its as if he’s been waiting for his opportunity to talk to her even though he didn’t she had a twin. Not fully knowing what is real and what is the truth adds to the tension and allure of the two characters. There are two main mysteries that run through the film but only one gets an answer and we are left to decide about the other, as well as to wonder what really happened.
There will be some that find the dialogue stilted and blunt, as well as the occasional blank acted scenes but if you look at this playing into the psychological side of this thriller, you begin to see how these characters, really behave. Are they putting up a front the whole time or are they really as disturbed as they appear to be? Cordelia definitely is an unusual film with familiar genre plot points. If the film had expanded on a few of its ideas, maybe we would have all the answers but that’s not what this film is about.
Dir: Adrian Shergold
Prd: Kevin Proctor
Scr: Adrian Shergold, Antonia Campbell-Hughes
Cast: Antonia Campbell-Hughes, Johnny Flynn
DoP: Tony Slater Ling
Music: Natalie Holt
Running time: 88 minutes
Cordelia is out in cinemas on 23rd Oct