Cert: 15 Runtime: 93 mins Director: Richard Ayoade Cast: Jesse Eisenberg, Mia Wasikowska, Wallace Shawn, Noah Taylor and Craig Roberts
I have all these things that I want to say to her, like… Like how I can tell she’s a lonely person, even if other people can’t. Cause I know what it feels like to be lost and lonely and invisible
Richard Ayoade surprised a lot of people with directorial début Submarine a few years ago. No he has returned with his second feature The Double, this is as far as my comparison goes. So what is The Double all about? Meek and mild Simon James (Jesse Eisenberg) feels as though he’s disappearing. He lives alone and works in a dreary office job where nobody seems to notice him. To make matters worse, he’s become obsessed with his sexy colleague and neighbour, Hannah (Mia Wasikowska) but is unable even to strike up a conversation with her. Simon’s life changes dramatically with the arrival of new co-worker James Simon (also Jesse Eisenberg). Physically identical to Simon, James is his exact mirror image in terms of personality: outgoing, confident, risk-taking and an enthusiastic philanderer!
The acting in this film is all around very good. Eisenberg gives a very surprising performance as both Simon and James. As Simon, Eisenberg is basically playing the same role he’s repeated throughout more than half of his career thus far, the socially awkward inept dweeb. As James, though, Eisenberg shows range that I’ve never seen him do before. Eisenberg may have been good in films like The Social Network, but his range has never been pushed this far. As James, Eisenberg is controlling, menacing and even at times, surprisingly a little suave. His performance as Simon takes a change in range as well, as Simon begins to lose it. When Simon starts to become insane and has a breakdown, Eisenberg performs so well he’s practically playing a completely different character than the one that he did at the beginning of the film.There are other actors in the film, but Jessie Eisenberg, as Simon and James, is basically the only one who actually gets to do something of note, which is somewhat disappointing since the film has a very good cast. Australian actress Mia Wasikowska is Hannah, the girl that Simon pines after. Wasikowska gave a very good but her American accent was inconsistent. Wallace Shawn plays Simon’s boss, Mr. Papadopopolous, a good natured but stern man, and its good to see an actor like him on the big screen again.
He has one of the voices that is easily recognizable, and he has even more screen time than I expected in this film.Sally Hawkins, an acclaimed English actress who was nominated for an Academy Award this year for supportive role in Blue Jasmine, is the receptionist and gives a good but very limited (screen time wise) performance. Other notable actors in the cast include Chris O’Dowd as a nurse, and Cathy Moriarty as a waitress.The script is also very amusing and this film is very much a comedy/drama. Much of the humour of the film comes from the characters interactions with each other. A lot of the characters in this film are unlikable people, but what they say and how the actors deliver their lines, make the humour in the film much more amusing than I expected.As a film, The Double is a treat. If you go into this movie expecting something that you’ll understand easily, you’ll be disappointed greatly, but I found the film to be fascinating to watch, not just as a study of man’s sanity and a case of identity crisis, but also from a technical standpoint.