Title – The Double (2013)
Director – Richard Ayoade (Submarine)
Cast – Jesse Eisenberg, Mia Wasikowska, Noah Taylor, Wallace Shawn, Yasmin Paige
Plot – After years in a dead end government office job crunching numbers and printing reports, lowly Simon (Eisenberg) has his menial life turned upside down by the appearance of what seems like his direct double in the form of James (also Eisenberg) who unlike Simon is popular, well respected and worst of all in the good books of Simon’s co-worker and crush Hannah (Wasikowska). Simon sets out to figure out who and what James really is.
“I’m incapable of what needs to be done. I’m like Pinocchio, a wooden boy. Not a real boy. And it kills me”
Review by Eddie on 20/10/2014
Do you like your movies cooked up medium weird with an extra serving of strange? If you answered yes then there is no need to look any further for your out-there fix than right here with I.T Crowd graduate Richard Ayoade’s Brazil like, Fyodor Dostoevsky inspired oddity The Double, the years second doppelganger effort after the excellent Enemy that goes to some mighty odd places yet remains highly watchable.
After showing fine form behind the camera with his 2010 debut film Submarine, Ayoade has here upped the anti and ambition with this well made and constructed mystery/comedy. Imbuing the film with a wit now a signature of his projects (plus a few nice cameos from friends Paddy Considine and Chris O’Dowd) from the aforementioned I.T Crowd, The Mighty Boosh or the acid trip like adventures of Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace, Ayoade’s signature is all over the film from its deft delivery, odd occurrences (weapons at an old peoples home anyone?) and ripe dialogue (“No riding on a motorcycle with another man. Exceptions are drive-by shootings, bomb throwing’s and purse snatchings”) The Double has a real flavour of its own that makes it stand out from the crowd and a macabre tone keeps the viewer on edge with its unpredictable nature that his cast plays out to good effect.
Starring young Woody Allen himself Jesse Eisenberg, The Double showcases his talent as a neurotic lead in what is a nice double act for himself to riff as the characters of Simon and James, who may look the same yet have a highly different personality. Surrounded by some fine supports lead by Aussie alumni’s Mia Wasikowska and Noah Taylor, Eisenberg is engaging in a difficult two pronged attack and makes the most of the snappy dialogue at his disposal. The film shines brightest when Simon and James share the screen and while the consistent success of James and the continued berating of Simon can wear thin, the film never outstays it’s welcome with its short runtime and increasingly wacky scenarios from the Brazil inspired office workings or the awkward dates at a tacky restaurant keeping things moving.
It’s pretty clear that this tale isn’t truly meant to be understood but if you can forgive The Double for not trying to justify its existence there is much to enjoy here from the fine production design, an inventive and unique script and some solid performances. Not for everyone but in a market jam packed with generic offerings, The Double could just be that remedy you’re seeking.
3 and a half late night burials out of 5