Something constantly seen throughout the thriller Body Double is voyeurism. The protagonist of the story, Jake Scully sees his girlfriend in the act of cheating with him. His best friend Sam leers at women at the bar. In an extremely egregious scene, Jake watches an unknown woman strip and masturbate. He even acts in a porn movie. Watching this movie I was left wondering if all these titillating scenes were for the benefit of the story or for the audience.
The movie itself is mainly a tribute to Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo, with nods to his style of filming and a phobic protagonist. Jake is claustrophobic, something that is very well explained in an early scene where he has to imagine himself in a traumatizing and humiliating childhood situation. Overall Jake is excellently acted throughout the movie. The plot is as follows (without any spoilers, of course): Jake loses his job because of his claustrophobia and his new friend Sam gets him a high-tech house where he can spy on he woman next door. He peeps on this unknown dancer for two days when suddenly he sees a man slap her and drive off with stolen money. Motivated by a desire to protect her and to love her, Jake begins stalking the woman known as Gloria Revelle. One thing that bothered me throughout the movie was how creepy Jake could be at times. He’s always stalking her and he even watches her change clothes and steals her old underwear. For what it’s worth, a detective calls him out on his behavior so I don’t think the movie entirely expects us to condone his behavior. Gloria isn’t exactly well written, her only real defining moment being when she decides to make out with Jake on the beach after a disfigured man known as “The Indian” steals her purse. The Indian (implying there’s only one) is a strange monster of a thug who’s constantly stalking Gloria and Jake feels he must protect Gloria from. I was worried that making The Indian, well, Indian was a racist choice but there is a twist at the end which alleviates most of those concerns.
Body Double has a ton of really sexy scenes, so I wouldn’t let your kids watch it. Bt It’s a rather decent thriller otherwise in the way it keeps the audience guessing, so I think that I would recommend it.