Starring: Jesse Eisenberg, Mia Wasikowska, Wallace Shawn, Cathy Moriarty, Chris O’Dowd, James Fox, Noah Taylor
Directed by: Richard Ayoade
Synopsis: A clerk in a government agency finds his unenviable life takes a turn for the horrific with the arrival of a new co-worker who is both his exact physical double and his opposite – confident, charismatic and seductive with women.jesse-eisenberg-the-double
British comedic actor Richard Ayoade (The IT Crowd) returns for his second feature film behind the camera, a few years after his Wes Anderson-esque debut ‘Submarine’. This time he has been handed a bigger budget and a far, far crazier story. In fact the story itself is adapted from a Dostoyevsky tale from, well, whenever Dostoyevsky was knocking about (I didn’t go to university I’m afraid).
The Double is a very odd film, featuring Jesse Eisenberg, who increasingly looks set to become the new Woody Allen. I think. He plays a meek office worker who struggles to connect with, or even be recognised, by anyone, least of all the girl of his dreams (Mia Wasikowska). The film is interestingly set in some sort of Dystopian future (I’m not clever enough to really know what that means, but I do recognise it as a thing) juxtaposed with old fashioned clothing etc. It all adds to the weirdness of the film in a way that creates a world for the characters.
It is an interesting film, although quite arty, so probably (make that definitely) won’t be for everyone. Like most films featuring doppelgangers and dual personalities (Fight Club, the recent Jake Gyllenhaal featuring Enemy) it can get a bit confusing and hard to follow at times, and often fall a bit flat at the end when they inevitably end up, not being about two people, but obviously one person and the other side to their personality.
All the actors on show get into their roles and succeed. Eisenberg steals the show obviously, and both characters he plays are really good. The other cast members are all acceptable and there are numerous cameo’s from famous faces ranging from a mad nurse played by Chris O’Dowd, a janitor played rather randomly by J. Mascis of Dinosaur Jr. fame, and a brief appearance by Chris Morris.
For those who like their films odd, in a Terry Gilliam sort of way, you will find much to like about The Double and it’s crazy, quirky universe. For those who want a straightforward movie that is easy to understand, probably best to avoid.