I had hoped this premise would be interesting when finding the film via a random Google search suggestion, then finding out it was available on Amazon Prime. I’ll just be candid and go into the details.
This film is definitely one that tries too hard to be extreme and the point ends-up being muddled by lack of coherence and weakness in details. The story is more like a play than a film in sequence. Simon James and James Simon are deliberately implied to be the same exact person and the “theft” of Simon’s life and wellbeing by James Simon’s bad habits reflect his own bad habits. It is actually Simon himself two-timing the love of his life by dating the boss’s daughter and then fooling around with other women. James Simon repeating to Hannah what Simon said to get together with her, later in the story when Simon is casually asked by the doctor about Hannah being his wife (he doesn’t dispute it), and the boss being “angry” by telling Simon that he was wrong to take advantage but not actually expressing any appropriate degree of anger for James Simon fucking his underage daughter then sending pictures throughout the company by “blaming” it on Simon James reflect that they were the same exact person the entire time. It was Simon himself who abused the trust of his boss and had sex with his underage daughter (i.e. rape), it was Simon who would have been the father of Hannah’s baby and who was married to her, and it was Simon who hurt those around him with his destructive habits due to the social pressure around him. Simon appears meek throughout it all while James is committing these horrible deeds to reflect how the perpetrator of abuse wants to feel blameless as they externalize the abuse that they give others as if they’re a different person.
While this is an interesting critique on how people see themselves, I honestly don’t know how to feel about it or what to rate it. The boring, trite Christian symbolism obviously reflect Simon killing his darker impulses to “purify” himself at the end and the reason Hannah rushes to him is because she does indeed love him, but was hurt by his affairs and bizarre behavior of snooping into her trash until she learned what the purpose was. The only surprising part to me was that there wasn’t a “dark” Hannah that conflicted with Simon James. It would have been more interesting. Sadly, the film falls into the whole manliness stereotype that British culture is pathetically prone to embrace.
I think this film is worth watching at least once despite its flaws. I suppose I’d rate it a tentative 3 / 5.