WRITTEN BY: Richard Ayoade, Avi Korine
DIRECTED BY: Richard Ayoade
STARRING: Jesse Eisenberg, Mia Wasikowska, Wallace Shawn
RATING: 3.5 stars
The Double is a quirky film that begins as a comedy but becomes very dark as the story unfolds. It also somehow feels both retro and futuristic at the same time. The film is hard to describe without giving away too much of the plot, suffice to say that the core message is one worth pondering. It is a sort of modern film noir.
Adapted from Fyodor Dostoevsky novel of the same title, but actually taking quite a departure from the original piece, The Double introduces the audience to Simon James (Jesse Eisenberg), who works in some kind of odd-looking office as a data processor. He is a bit of a loner and blends in with the crowd, so much so that the security guard who sees him every day does not recognise his face every morning when he arrives at work and his boss (Wallace Shawn) forgets his name. Simon's whole life seems to be work, visiting his mother at a nursing home and watching the office copy girl Hannah (Mia Wasikowska) at her home in the evening from the building where he lives across the road from her. But things change quickly for Simon when a new man starts working at the office. James Simon has a very similar name to him and the exact same face, yet no one seems to notice. James is cocky, sexy and more extroverted than Simon. Soon, James starts to get the attention Simon deserves and he realises he has to stop his doppelganger from making his life even less significant.
Eisenberg has a tough job playing one character who is so insecure and another who is so arrogant. He is dressed the same way as both characters so it really comes down to the way he speaks and moves. He does a great job of making the audience believe he could be both men. Wasikowska provides a lot of depth to her role and Shawn is as reliable as ever.
The film is not too long, but it is slow-paced and drags in parts. Ultimately though, The Double is a unique film and its ending will surely spark debate among the audience afterwards.