Starring: Jesse Eisenberg, Mia Wasikowska, Wallace Shawn, Yasmin Paige, Noah Taylor
Directed By: Richard Ayoade
Written By: Richard Ayoade, Avi Korine
Rating: R (US) Running Time: 1 hr 33 min
The Double is one of those films most people either ‘get’ and love, or don’t, and hate. For those that understood exactly what this art film was trying to do, go ahead and enjoy that totally sense of superiority you’re feeling over your fellow-man. The next time you’re with friends, you can rave about this little art film you saw, drop Jesse Eisenberg’s name so they make The Social Network connection (a movie they actually saw and liked), and say ‘kafkaesque’ at least once, then wax on and off philosophically my pseudo intellectual friend. You’ve earned it!
You understood this film was about one man’s inner struggles and conflicts. A fight for his identity against his doppelganger and much more confident alter ego. You loved the surreal world the story was set in, and found (either naturally or manufactured) meaning in every little detail. You revelled in its bleakness, its noir look, ambiguous story telling and go on, admit it, you found every half-spoken mumbled sentence about Pinocchio from Jesse Eisenberg’s ‘wallflower’ Simon, really f’n deep!
I got what this film was trying to do, and I still didn’t like it. I also realize it’s set in a ‘Brazil-esque’ alternate reality, and the normal rules don’t apply. But I still found every interaction between the assorted characters annoying and frustrating. Like everyone was speaking to someone who wasn’t there, and it made me crave an honest direct connection between, well, anyone! I appreciated Erik Wilson’s cinematography, Andrew Hewitt’s score and Jesse Eisenberg’s performances. And I will admit it got more interesting as the pieces of the bizarre puzzle started to form a point near the end of the film. But this surreal project, for me at least, just wasn’t very entertaining.
If you like ‘art house’ or ‘specialty’ cinema, then I would recommend you give this a try. You may get more out of it than I did. Those averse to ambiguous story telling, over-the-top characters and stories that rely on a lot of symbolism, might want to pass on this. The movie earns its R rating for language.
Despite what I thought about the film, I did like how it looked. This would work well on a theater sized screen, or in HD on your TV at home. I wouldn’t recommend you watch this on anything smaller than your laptop.
Erik Wilson’s cinematography is the best thing about this film in my opinion. I loved this one shot of Hannah (Mia Wasikowska) on a train, as she stands by the door at the end of her carriage. It’s a fixed shot taken from the next carriage. So as the train moves and makes turns, she seems to drift up and down, left and right, eyes closed as though she was simply enjoying the train’s motion.