The Double

The Double

Directed by Richard Ayoade
Starring Jesse Eisenberg, Mia Wasikowska, Wallace Shawn and Noah Taylor
In UK Cinemas April 4th, 2014

by Joanna Orland

The Double is a Lynchian drama, abstract in narrative and visuals with surreal and emotive use of sound design. The narrative follows Simon James played in typical fashion by Jesse Eisenberg. He is a ghost walking amongst us. He is a non person. He is overlooked by the girl he is infatuated with, his boss, his colleagues, his mother, and even the security guard at work who asks him for ID on a daily basis. Things are grim for Simon James, and get worse when his doppelganger James Simon arrives as the new office darling at work.  James is everything Simon is not. He is confident, successful, authoritative and a ladies man. He is ruining Simon’s life as he thrives in every aspect of life that Simon struggles with. And it’s driving Simon into madness.

The directorial style of this film is reminiscent of previous work of David Lynch or Terry Gilliam as it is a surreal adaptation of the Dostoyevsky story also entitled The Double. Richard Ayoade’s directorial style is dark, stylized and signature. It visually looks like a vague companion piece to his previous film Submarine but is very different in storytelling structure. Jesse Eisenberg is perfectly cast as Simon and James.  While his range is limited and his yin yang versions of Simon/James are both very much Jesse Eisenberg, he uses nuances and subtleties in each role, allowing the audience to merely look at these characters side by side and be able to tell who is who. Quite a feat for an actor who supposedly has no range and who himself could be the actual doppelganger of Michael Cera.

I thoroughly liked The Double, but understand that it has limited appeal and may struggle to find its audience. Even so, I hope it succeeds as Ayoade is one of the most interesting directors of the moment –  likeable, surreal, ambitious and has that perfect amount of awkwardness. Imagine how awkward life on the set of The Double must’ve been with Richard Ayoade and Jesse Eisenberg interacting with each other! #Awkberg

Our BFI London Film Festival red carpet interviews with Jesse, Richard and Craig Roberts:

Jesse Eisenberg

Jesse Eisenberg on playing polar opposites.

Richard Ayoade

Richard Ayoade on directing 2 Jesses.

Craig Roberts

Craig Roberts on working with Richard Ayoade on The Double.

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