Marvel star Sebastian Stan shines in A Different Man, but someone else steals the show twice

Marvel star Sebastian Stan shines in A Different Man but

Sebastian Stan played the sleazy version of Captain America in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The Winter Soldier was a super soldier with post-traumatic disorder and camouflage under-eye circles. If Steve Rogers became a circus muscle man thanks to the super serum, the dark Bucky was only good for cabinets of curiosities. Outside of the MCU, Stan remains true to these interests. In Fresh he played a cannibal and in Pam & Tommy he played a fame monster. The same thing happened at this year’s Berlinale clever like idiosyncratic thriller comedy A Different Man shown in which Stan gets to sink his teeth into one of his best roles.

That’s what A Different Man with Sebastian Stan is about

At first, Sebastian Stan’s real face remains hidden from us. He plays Edward, one shy occasional actor with a rare hereditary disease. Tumors cover his face and thanks to first-class make-up artistry, Stan can only be recognized by his voice. Edward’s social life can be illustrated by the unkempt hole in his living room ceiling. It’s rotting away. It is only thanks to his new neighbor, the lively playwright Ingrid (Renate Reinsve from The Worst Person in the World), that he forms tender bonds. But Edward believes that nothing will ever come of it with his face.

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Sebastian Stan with a mask in A Different Man

This is where the offer of experimental therapy comes in handy. After several disgusting horror scenes of falling pieces of flesh Edward wears the movie star face of Sebastian Stan. With the name Guy he puts on a different identity. Edward is dead, a new person has been born, with a well-paying job, an expensive apartment and one-night stands. However, Guy cannot bury his former identity. So he auditions for Ingrid’s new play. It’s about a man named Edward with deformed facial features. However, Guy doesn’t expect any competition for the lead role.

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The genre mix offers horror interludes, thrills and a surprising number of laughs

The meaningful basic idea of ​​A Different Man is reminiscent of the stories of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, about invisible men and the picture of Dorian Gray. Writer and director Aaron Schimberg presents one unique mixture of horror, dry comedy and psychological thriller together. As soon as sympathetic voyeurism creeps in (think Darren Aronofsky’s bad The Whale with Brendan Fraser), A Different Man hits a snag. Edward is not fetishized as a victim. The tragic realization after the transformation is very simple: Edward is the master of his own happiness, no matter what he looks like. The consequences are terrifying and very, very funny.

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Sebastian Stan, Renate Reinsve and Adam Pearson in Adam Pearson in A Different Man

Edward’s involuntary reality check is embodied by Oswald (Adam Pearson). The extroverted jack-of-all-trades wraps his surroundings around his finger with magical ease. Oswald has the same genetic disease as Edward, but people fly to him. Nothing rots in his apartment. He is played by Adam Pearson, who also lives with neurofibromatosis in real life and was seen in the science fiction film Under the Skin alongside Scarlett Johansson.

Sebastian Stan and Adam Pearson shine in the thriller comedy

A Different Man begins as a parable about external and internal values ​​and turns into an ambiguous story that constantly questions itself. Sebastian Stan wears a mask to portray Edward, while Adam Pearson, a “real” person with the disease, is portrayed opposite him. This is where the clever meta-game of A Different Man begins, which sometimes gets lost in its mind games, but always in an entertaining way.

Sebastian Stan embodies the impotent aggression of his outsider in an impressively unpretentious and straightforward manner. Pearson still steals the show. In two ways. Oswald relegates Guy to a supporting player in his own story.

Adam Pearson, on the other hand, opens up enough space in his play to cast doubt on Oswald’s motives. Sebastian Stan’s figure can be calculated quite quickly, but things are different with Oswald. The likeable, open-hearted and humane Oswald seems almost perfect and yet there is something calculated about his behavior. As if he had put a mask on himself to get ahead in a world that celebrates conventional beauty standards. But you can’t really define Oswald and that also applies to this macabre film.