Sunday 2 July 2023

Movie Review: The Double (2013)

Genre: Dramedy
Director: Richard Ayoade
Starring: Jesse Eisenberg, Mia Wasikowska, Wallace Shawn
Running Time: 93 minutes

Synopsis: Simon James (Jesse Eisenberg) leads a sad, solitary, and almost invisible life. Even after seven years at the same job, his boss Mr. Papadopoulos (Wallace Shawn) does not know his name. Simon harbours a crush on work colleague and neighbour Hannah (Mia Wasikowsa), but lacks the courage to approach her. The charismatic and confident James Simon (also Eisenberg), who looks exactly like Simon, is hired at work, forcing the meek Simon to reassess everything about his life.

What Works Well: Director and writer Richard Ayoade's adaptation of the Dostoevsky novel features a Terry Gilliam-like askew society filled with bleak despair, where technology doubles down on the 1960s and police units specialize in investigating (and predicting) suicides. Or this may only be a reflection of Simon's inner irrelevance as a man drifting through life for no apparent purpose. Jesse Eisenberg acts opposite himself and invests in both the doormat and boot roles, gradually confronting realities about initiative and yields proportionate to actions.

What Does Not Work As Well: The pacing is slow, accompanied by a dark and gloomy aesthetic (often artistically pierced by sharp light). The death obsession is only partly mitigated by low-key moments of humour. Ultimately, the narrative is content with sowing confusion about the pathways enabled by personal accountability.

Conclusion: Intellectually stimulating, but happiest in the doldrums.

All Ace Black Movie Blog reviews are here.

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