by Euan Simpson
After the success Richard Ayoade’s directorial debut Submarine he is back with a movie that is bold, beautiful and extremely unsettling.
The Double is based off of the novella by Fyodor Dostoyevsky and is about Simon James, an introverted, awkward and forgettable office worker who is deeply in love with his coworker Hannah. However Simon’s life is turned up side down when a new employee James Simon arrives. James, looks exactly like Simon but is much more confident and aggressive than Simon could ever be.
The film stars Jesse Eisenberg as Simon/James and Mia Wasikowska as Hannah. Eisenberg, who is no stranger in playing awkward characters, is perfect in cementing the contrast between Simon and James and his characterizations makes it easy to identify who is who.
The film has a style that isn’t seen much now-a-days. Set in a much murkier world it reminded me of the office scenes in Terry Gilliam’s Brazil. A mixture between high-tech machines but in a more ‘analogue’ world makes the scenes very unsettling to look at. Similarly, the film uses lots of sounds to build atmosphere much like David Lynch’s Eraserhead. If you have seen these films you can see their influence stream throughout the film.
Overall it is difficult to determine exactly what the film is about. Is it about self-identity? Becoming a better person? Identity Fraud? It also doesn’t answer any questions such as where did this ‘clone’ come from? But I don’t see these unanswered questions as a problem. This is a film that makes you leave the cinema not quite sure what to think or how to feel. All I know is that the film was a great experience and I cannot wait to see what Richard Ayoade will get up to with his next project.
Watch this film and many like it at the macrobert