Sci-fi Film Review: "doppel"

In Tom Pykett's "Doppel," a man wakes to find himself in room with a woman's fresh corpse and a revolver with empty shells in all six barrels. The police outside demand that he open the door. Instead, he flees through a window and across his back yard to an alleyway.

The protagonist, it turns out, is a man named Howard Willow. He's the double of a scientist who tampered with the physics of time. The scientist Willow has unwittingly scrambled parallel universes by experimenting with a wormhole, so the protagonist Willow doesn't know how he came to be in a room

with a gun and a corpse.


Tom Pykett filmed the story with sequences from Willow's point of view and with tight camera angles for the shots of Willow entering and leaving buildings, etc. Although some of the action of the film transpires in crowded alleyways, most of the story takes place in small rooms. The camera work and setting choices combine to give the film a trapped, claustrophobia-inducing feeling.

Sound and Music

The sound effects are convincing, varied and interesting. Many came from freesound dot org, a website for users to post sound effects with Creative Commons licenses. The music of “Doppel” does its job, but don’t expect to be whistling a tune from the film after you see it.


Mark Scott plays the various characters

named Howard Willow in the film. He’s convincing both as a hapless victim of circumstance and as a lost and confused scientist. Greg Wheatly acted as his body double in a few scenes. Two other actors, Tim Pykett and Andy Doyle, have incidental roles as policemen.

Comparison and Judgment

In the notes to his YouTube upload of this film, Tom Pykett says he was inspired by "the works of Prime and Donnie Darko." In truth, I liked this film much better than "Donnie Darko." Watching "Doppel" reminded me of reading "The Invention of Morel" by Adolfo Bioy Casares, a volume I’ve read and enjoyed several times. Memorable scenes and excellent editing make “Doppel” a great short film and a pleasure to watch.

“Doppel.” Dir. Tom Pykett. Purple Parabellum Productions, 2011.

You can see “Doppel” on YouTube:

Article Written By marqjonz

marqjonz is a blogger at

Last updated on 25-06-2016 80 0

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