And here lies the problem, it was too perfect
Looking at the early part of the performance, there is no clue that Frank is anyone other than a math teacher. It's as if no one told Depp that he was Alex until the scene when he opens the safe.
I love this film, especially after knowing the spoiler. Depp played the ambiguity so well it's incredible to just watch his performance.
When I first saw it, I kinda think it was b.s. that he was Alex the whole time, that it was just a gimmick twist. As I saw no sign of him being Alex.
Upon second viewing, everything actually worked. And I've seen it several times since.
Depp played it as if he was unsure if she still recognized him when they first met ( which we took for being uneasy around beautiful stranger ). He even did a double take because he hadn't see he for a long time but recognized her immediately. First word out of his mouth, "I'm sorry." Then, Depp continued to play it like he was not sure if he should reveal himself to her, not sure if she would forgive him if he did. Which, of course, we mistook for him being clueless on what's he's being conned into, on first viewing. And so on and so forth. And Depp played this ambiguity throughout the whole film, with different set of ambiguity for every scene as the plot thickens. He played like a math teacher for us, but played Alex for his character, his lover, and the film. Doing both at the same time.
This film's ambiguity is not on clues, hints or foreshadowing. It's all on Depp's performance.
This film is so underrated. There's no preachy romance or artsy philosophy, but for entertainment, it's a joy to watch from one scene to the next.
i thought depp was a bad actor