Timothée Chalamet’s First Lead Role Was in This Supernatural Indie Thriller

Movies


The Big Picture

  • One & Two
    showcases Chalamet’s range in a dark and emotional thriller early in his career.
  • Chalamet expertly conveys fear and trauma in his role as Zac.
  • The film’s complex family dynamics and disturbing themes highlight Chalamet’s strongest work.


These days, Timothée Chalamet is an actor who needs no introduction. His latest film, the sci-fi epic Dune: Part Two, continues to dominate at the box office, while his musical adventure, Wonka, was a big winner over the holiday season. Next, he’s set to transform himself into Bob Dylan for the legendary musician’s biopic. Chalamet’s starring role in 2017’s Call Me by Your Name might’ve put him on everyone’s radar, but before the actor’s turn in the Oscar-winning romance, he led the way alongside Mad Men‘s Kiernan Shipka in the supernaturally-infused indie, One & Two.


One and Two (2015)

Two siblings discover a supernatural escape from a troubled home, but find their bond tested when reality threatens to tear their family apart.

Release Date
August 14, 2015

Director
Andrew Droz Palermo

Runtime
90 Minutes

Main Genre
Drama

Writers
Andrew Droz Palermo , Neima Shahdadi


What Is ‘One & Two’ About?

Written and directed by Andrew Droz Palermo, One & Two is an independent production that had its premiere on February 9, 2015 at the Berlin International Film Festival. Twins Eva and Zac, who live with their strict father Daniel (Grant Bowler) and their sick mother Elizabeth (Elizabeth Reaser), share the ability to teleport themselves to close locations of their choosing. Daniel, however, is strictly Christian and doesn’t want them using their abilities. Zac’s life becomes particularly hard after the passing of his mother, a story that allows Chalamet to show his talents in a complex role early on in his career.


‘One & Two’ Is a Dark, Emotional Thriller

At the film’s start, there is clearly something different about Zac and Eva. A barrier surrounds the farm on which they live and play, and there’s a real feeling of dreadful isolation. Their father, Daniel, does not approve of the two using their ability. Their mother, Elizabeth, meanwhile, is fragile and prone to seizures. Zac and Eva are careful about using their powers, sneaking out at night to teleport. One night, during a venture, their mother nearly dies, and Daniel catches the twins. He punishes them with extreme cruelty, nailing them to the wall by their clothing. There’s no hope, as they are viciously locked inside their farmhouse with Daniel and the ailing Elizabeth.


The family dynamics are set up early in the film, and Chalamet’s performance emulates the stark contrast of Zac’s family relationships. When he’s with Eva, there’s a childlike freedom that is both endearing and sympathetic. The youthful joy in Chalamet’s performance is fantastic to watch, and stands out among the actor’s more serious films. His scenes with Daniel are a dark switch, one that is disturbing and often hard to watch. The freedom he had with Eva is gone, and Chalamet personifies it with great intensity, both physically and emotionally.

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Despite their punishment, Eva continues to sneak out, learning an important lesson along the way. When she tries to save a baby bird by teleporting it back to its home, it dies (a real Chekhov’s Gun moment). Things get worse for the twins when Elizabeth passes away. Her father blames Eva for Elizabeth’s death and beats her into unconsciousness. She is sent away and Daniel informs Zac that Eva is no longer an issue. Zac enters a deep state of mourning and is left alone with the vicious Daniel. Freshly grieving the sister he thinks dead, Zac’s greatest challenges are about to come, and with it, a complex fear that foreshadows the immense talent that would embody Chalamet’s later work.

Timothée Chalamet Embodies Fear in ‘One & Two’


Though his break-out role in Call Me by Your Name was still more than a year away, audiences got a glimpse of Chalamet’s immense talent in One & Two. Even before Eva is gone, the oppression experienced by Zac is made incredibly evident in Chalamet’s performance. Of the two, Zac is the most obedient to his father. While Eva sneaks out, Zac stays behind, nailed to the wall. In one of the film’s hardest-to-watch sequences, he shakes and urinates on himself. Achieved through nothing more than a close-up and sound effects, Chalamet plays the scene with a mixture of pain, resistance and relief that is both uncomfortable and widely effective.

Once Eva is sent away, the claustrophobic terror of Zac being left alone with Daniel intensifies, and their situation leads to a final confrontation. Unaware of what Eva learned earlier in the film, he teleports with Daniel, killing the tyrant. In a scene that would put Elio’s three-minute long crying sequence to shame in Call Me by Your Name, there is a slowly-built trauma that explodes from Zac. It’s a fantastic climax for the character who has perhaps been the film’s most troubled character. His salvation comes when he reunites with Eva. She finds Zac as he buries Daniel, and the traumas that came with his father. The two embrace and burn down the home they shared with their parents. While Zac and Eva are indeed free, it’s still not exactly a happy ending. Both actors bring their A-Game to the mostly-silent final scenes. They’re together, yes, but they’re still children filled with trauma. The youthful joy they shared together returns, but it’s tainted by the torture they’ve both experienced.


Timothee Chalamet has become one of Hollywood’s most sought-after stars. Roles like Elio and Wonka certainly have their youthful charm, but Zac allowed him to balance that with the darkness he’s portrayed so well in films like Lady Bird and Dune. One & Two may not have been the international success that Chalamet’s future projects would become, but its complex family dynamic, dark themes and disturbing images allow for some of his strongest work. Though his big break was still some time away after One & Two‘s release, the picture gave audiences a glimpse of the talent the younger actor possessed, even back then.

One & Two is available to rent on Apple TV+ in the U.S.

Rent on Apple TV+



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