Saturday, May 17, 2014
The Double by Richard Ayoade, 2013 (R)
Simon is a timid man, scratching out an isolated existence in an indifferent world. He is overlooked at work, scorned by his mother, and ignored by the woman of his dreams. He feels powerless to change any of these things. The arrival of a new co-worker, James, serves to upset the balance. James is both Simon's exact physical double and his opposite - confident, charismatic and good with women. To Simon's horror, James slowly starts taking over his life. Jesse Eisenberg plays the dual roles of the timid office worker and his charismatic doppelganger in this cinematic adaptation of a Dostoevsky tale.
I usually like these kind of movies, but the threshold is that is has to have the humor of the absurd, or at least not make me suffer for too long with the evidence of the situation. This movie is so serious and so obvious that it becomes boring and painful to watch. The ambient is quite similar to the one of Jean Pierre Jeunet movies, perhaps with a feel of 1984, which is great at the beginning. The storyline is interesting (if the movie were shorter), the absurdity and darkness of the movie has a point, but you have to have to courage to see for an hour and a half inactive Jesse Eisenberg and asshole Jesse Eisenberg having a trip of their own.
with Jesse Eisenberg (Now You See Me, The Social Network, To Rome With Love, Solitary Man), Mia Wasikowska (Lawless, Albert Nobbs, Alice in Wonderland, The Kids Are All Right, Amelia), Wallace Shawn, Noah Taylor, Yasmin Paige, James Fox, Cathy Moriarty, Phyllis Somerville, Sally Hawkins (Blue Valentine, An Education, Never Let Me Go), Chris O'Dowd (Bridesmaids), Craig Roberts