The Spitting Image | Chicago Reader

The Spitting Image

A mild-mannered Dutch tobacconist's dull life during the Nazi occupation is suddenly enlivened when a spy who looks eerily like him parachutes into the backyard. Following the spy's strange orders, the tobacconist finds himself tangled up in assassinations, cryptic secret meetings, and incomprehensible double crosses. By turns giddy and frightening, this 1963 oddity is rather like The Secret Life of Walter Mitty as imagined by Kafka. Half the fun is trying to figure out what it means: is it an oblique parody of spy films? A philosophical parable about our dual natures? The gorgeous, crisp black-and-white cinematography is by Raoul Coutard (Breathless, Lola, Jules and Jim); Fons Rademakers directed. In Dutch with subtitles. 1963, 121 min.

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