|Image from: http://www.collider.com|
Loosely based on the book by Dostoevsky, The Double introduces us to Simon James, a timid young man struggling to exist in a dystopian near-future. Underappreciated by his peers and unnoticed by the girl he likes, Simon’s life takes a turn for the strange when his doppelgänger (James Simon) begins working alongside him.
His complete opposite in terms of personality, James oozes confidence and proves as successful with Simon’s work colleagues as he is with women. They quickly become friends, but as the lines become blurred as to who is who, their friendship takes a sinister turn.
I’ve always had an appreciation for the off-beat film, a love for the strange. The Double is of both, so it’s no shock that I found it to be an excellent piece of work.
It’s a cinematic oddity which will undoubtedly split audiences, but one which I find has more positives than negatives, thanks to the fantastic direction from former IT Crowd man, Richard Ayoade.
There’s real auteurship on display with this, and whilst it owes a lot to the work of David Lynch and Terry Gilliam (a comparison Ayoade can’t seem to escape), that doesn’t render it any less original.
Despite a minimalistic feel and a colour theme that consists primarily of greys, browns and greens, there are glimmers of beauty spread throughout in its visuals and occasionally poetic screenplay.
At a time where it’s easy to become desensitised to film, Ayoade’s bold vision is something to admire, regardless of your emotional response to the film.
Jesse Eisenberg (our future Lex Luthor) also impresses in his central performance/performances, holding the film together with brilliant comedic timing, and using his tone of voice and physicality to bring these two different characters to life.
On a very basic level, it’s just really funny, and despite the darkness it often made me laugh out loud too.
The Double will not be to everyone’s taste and it is not an “easy watch”, but that’s a good thing as far as I’m concerned. It’s slightly mind-bending and will more than likely leave you baffled, but The Double has enough artistic vision to make it a must-see film.