House of Mirrors

More than anything Shattered Image recalls the completely insane and droll Desire and Hell at the Sunset Motel, directed by one Alien Castle, which sank like a stone back in 1992. (Go rent it. If nothing else, it's way different.) But where Desire and Hell pushed the amnesia/identity shtick to the point of farce, Ruiz, however playful, keeps Shattered Image closer to the realm of tragedy.

The final ten minutes suggest a definitive, pat explanation for what has been going on. It may be an intriguing explanation, but it's unnecessary. In the long run, is it really important just which world is real? I don't think so: The film is what it is; the images mean not a whit more than precisely what they are. To demand a resolution that connects Shattered Image's world to our own is to limit the experience. Like exposing the sleight of hand behind a magic trick, it ruins the magic forever.

Shattered Image.
Directed by Raœl Ruiz. Written by Duane Poole. Starring Anne Parillaud, William Baldwin, Graham Greene, and Lisanne Falk.

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