Gloriously shot in black-and-white, this is in many ways a good old-fashioned thriller dealing with such themes as amnesia, identity exchange and guilt, unobtrusively recalling Hitchcock's Spellbound while managing to preserve a cool integrity all of its own. The film begins with Clay Arlington (Haysbert) arriving in Phoenix to meet his half-brother Vincent Towers (Harris). Vincent is aloof, cunning and very rich; Clay is sensitive and down on his luck. Apart from that they are identical. All of which gives Vincent the idea of framing his brother for a crime he has committed - the murder of their father. Clay duly goes up in flames on the freeway in Vincent's car and when he is rescued by the emergency services he is taken for his own brother.
All this has its fair share of tension, paranoid mindgames and detached violence, but is more concerned with philosophising about the nature of identity and what makes us who we are. When Clay is rescued from the flames he is suffering from amnesia, so not only does he require extensive plastic surgery he also needs his mind fixing. As memories of his old life flash up in his dreams, his psychiatrist (Sab Shimono) struggles to fit them into a fixed idea of who Vincent Towers is, a situation that builds to a marvellously ironic climax.
And, the whole way through, this blindingly good thriller never lets on about its central conceit - the actor playing Vincent is white, while the actor playing Clay is black - which adds a huge extra dimension to proceedings. Superbly written, excellently acted and coolly brilliant, this thought-provoking duo-directed film will thrill The Master's fans and others.