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The Con Artists of Cinema: Duplicity's Place Among the Greatest Cinematic Deceptions



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The Con Artists of Cinema: Duplicity's Place Among the Greatest Cinematic Deceptions

The French thriller Duplicity takes its place among cinema's most deliciously devious deceptions with its masterfully constructed long con plot. At its dark heart is Juliette Legrand's decades-spanning scheme to impersonate the long-lost daughter of an affluent family. This diabolically twisting tale of an imposter co-opting someone's entire existence taps into our deepest fears of identity theft and losing one's sense of self. Duplicity puts a sadistic spin on the doppelganger premise, joining a rogues' gallery of famous films built around audacious deceptions and cons.

The Parent Trap (1998)
After being separated at birth, identical twins Annie and Hallie (both played by Lindsay Lohan) scheme to reunite their long-divorced parents Nick and Elizabeth. Swapping lives at summer camp, the devilishly duplicitous twins weave an elaborate ruse to fool their clueless parents into falling for each other again. What ensues is a delightfully mischievous and heartwarming comedy of errors as the twins take sibling rivalry to ingenious new levels.

Memento (2000)
This mind-bending Christopher Nolan thriller follows Leonard (Guy Pearce), a man struggling with anterograde amnesia who uses notes and tattoos to hunt for his wife's murderer. As Leonard pieces together his shattered memories, he must question every perceived truth and alliance, making us ponder whether he is the pursuer or the pursued in this disorienting anti-noir puzzle of existential mystery and dread.

Single White Female (1992)
After advertising for a new roommate, amiable software designer Allie (Bridget Fonda) thinks she's found the perfect live-in company in the meek and plain Jane Hedra (Jennifer Jason Leigh). But Hedra's harmless facade soon morphs into an unsettling obsession, as she insidiously ingratiates herself into Allie's life, taking on her style, career, and identity one sinister step at a time in this chilling psychosexual thriller.

Betrayed (1988)
FBI agent Cathy Weaver (Debra Winger) goes deep undercover, infiltrating a violent white supremacist compound by assuming the persona of a pro-gun socialist revolutionary mobilizing against the US government. As she expertly plays her role seducing leader Gary Simmons (Tom Berenger), Cathy finds her beliefs and ethics twisted by her prolonged immersion in this world of paranoia and hate in this taut, slow-burn neo-noir.

The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999)
Tasked by a wealthy businessman to retrieve his idler son Dickie from Italy, Tom Ripley (Matt Damon) is quickly seduced by Dickie's opulent lifestyle. But when jealousy arises, Ripley's Machiavellian schemes turn deadly as he adopts Dickie's identity in this sinister and stylish Patricia Highsmith adaptation that keeps you unsettled over its con man protagonist's true motives.

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