Freddy/Eddy (2016)

Freddy/Eddy first published by SciFiNow

“Who is Eddy now? Is he at your home? Is he sleeping in your bed? Or is he just deep inside you?”

Dr Weiss (Burghart Klaußner) is talking to his patient Freddy Jelik (Felix Schäfer), an artist who, after having been charged with aggravated assault against his own (now estranged) wife and her lover despite having no memory of touching them, finds Eddy (also Schäfer), the imaginary friend from his childhood, moving back in. Eddy is the id to Freddy’s ego, or the Hyde to Freddy’s Jelik, enacting in the real world the repressed thoughts and feelings that Freddy normally sublimates into his paintings – which suits Freddy fine when it comes to sorting out a difficult gallery owner, but is less welcome when Eddy starts sharing Freddy’s interest in new neighbour Paula (Jessica Schwarz) and her 14-year-old daughter Mizi (Greta Bohacek).

While Weiss is convinced that Freddy has a form of schizophrenia, aligning Tini Tüllmann’s feature debut Freddy/Eddy to the psychological ruptures of Drop Dead Fred (1991), Fight Club (1999), My Bloody Banjo (2015) or even fellow countryman Till Kleinert’s Der Samurai (2014), it is Eddy himself who proposes an alternative model when he says: “You don’t want us to show up together like The double Lottie.” For as Freddy delves deeper into his own past, he starts to suspect that Eddy might in fact, as in Erich Kästner’s novel, be a long lost identical twin, back to turn Freddy’s life upside down. 

In this thriller of doppelgängers and duplicities, Tüllmann holds up a mirror to her protagonist’s darkest desires, while keeping us on tenterhooks over the very question raised by Weiss: whether Eddy really is back in Freddy’s house, or just in his mind? Eventually an unequivocal answer is forthcoming, but along the way, ambiguities in Freddy’s character engender even greater ambiguities in the narrative, whose many, carefully managed twists and turns will have you questioning not only Freddy’s sanity, but also the relationship between life, genetic inheritance, the creative imagination and psychosis.  

Strap: Freddy Jelik meets his Mr Hyde in this doppelgänger psychothriller 

© Anton Bitel