Bruno is a psychotherapist who works with many patients with all kinds of issues. A little bit bored or removed from his work, he starts counseling a particularly distressed patient, Julia, who has dissociative identity disorder — otherwise once known as multiple personalities.
He becomes more and more embroiled with Julia and becomes drawn into a strange triangle with Julia’s different and warring personalities. One is distressed, weak and traumatized, while the other is assertive, manipulative and perhaps even a little sexy.
When Bruno crosses the line with Julia’s “other” personality, it sets off a contagion of events that not only sets off a dangerous game between Julia’s two selves but entangles Bruno in a knot of power, desire and consequence that he may not be able to extricate himself from.
Writer-director Remy Bazerque’s fascinating, tense psychological drama is about blurred lines: between patient and doctor, reality and fantasy, and fascination and repulsion. It draws viewers in with the idea of multiple personalities, but it becomes a study into losing control — of situations, and of ethics — and losing one’s self in the process.
The storytelling is classically constructed with unusual care of detail in establishing the characters and central dilemma, and the camerawork and editing pay great care to making sure the audience knows what each character is feeling and thinking. The film also has a particularly dark and moody look, emphasizing perhaps its roots in film noir-influenced thriller.
The events of the film are closely tethered to the characters, and the writing’s strength is in how each development in the narrative is tied to deeper revelations of the characters. The forward momentum is powered by questions of how deep the layers of self-deceit and damage go — and just how manipulative Julia and her personalities are.
Skilled performances are key to making this story work, and the short features two strong, though very different, ones. Actor Laurent Bateau captures the self-contained psychotherapist, who has just enough ennui in his life to be drawn into this strange love triangle against his conscious will. Actor Zoe Telford plays the two personalities of Julia with precision, and what’s fascinating is watching the relationship between these two “selves” develop as the story goes on.
The relationship that moves everything forward is not just between patient and client but between Julia’s two personalities, and watching it play out with Bruno as the ultimate pawn is both clever and thrilling to watch.
“Void and Method” at its core teases at fascinating questions of what it means to have a self. Do we get to choose who we are? Or are we who we are, and we have to make peace and accept that? One of the film’s most emblematic moments is when Julia’s “weaker” personality longs to “become” her stronger, more manipulative one. The questions and events of the short could easily be expanded into a longer feature that could offer a deeper look into this dark and compelling story. While we may not be able to relate to having multiple personalities, we can all explore notions of how we relate to the parts of ourselves and our experience we despise or are ashamed of.