02nd Aug2014

‘The Double’ DVD Review

by Paul Metcalf

Stars: Jesse Eisenberg, Mia Wasikowska, Noah Taylor, Chris O’Dowd, Wallace Shawn, James Fox, Sally Hawkins, Paddy Considine, Cathy Moriarty | Written by Richard Ayoade, Avi Korine | Directed by Richard Ayoade


When Richard Ayoade directed Submarine he gave us this slightly quirky tale of teen love, it was all a little fluffy and silly but very good.  Moving onto The Double if you saw the trailer you could already see that it was something very different.  Taking Jesse ‘soon to be Lex Luthor’ Eisenberg and giving him a nightmarish doppelgänger we are invited into a world where being nobody can get you replaced.

Simon James (Jesse Eisenberg) is nobody, he goes around the world unnoticed, ignored at work and not even noticed by the women of his dreams.  When a new worker James Simon arrives James is the only one to notice that he is an exact replica of himself.  As Simon fights to be noticed at first James appears to be helping him come out of his shell and gain confidence.  It’s not long though that Simon notices that James is taking over his life and replacing him.

The Double feels like it has elements of steam punk, noir and even a feel of George Orwell’s 1984.  The world in which Simon James lives in is strange and dark, oppressive and stifling of any humanity.  Simon just wants to be noticed, especially by Hannah (Mia Wasikowska) the women of his dreams but is too shy to take that step to be seen, until James Simon appears.  James is the reflection of Simon in every way, they may look the same but where Simon is shy James is the confident side and as is evident to Simon straight away is a threat.  While nobody notices him, everybody notices James.  James giving Simon a helping hand is initially welcome, but when Simon realises that it’s just a form of using him to replace him in the world he finally opens his eyes.  It’s all very confusing and can be hard to keep track of.

Richard Ayoade’s direction of the film definitely makes for a surreal experience.  This is no ordinary world and we are never allowed to think it is.  We are never really given an explanation as to the connection between Simon and his double and as we watch we have to constantly question what the reality of the situation is, even to the point of wondering if what we see is just what is actually going on in somebodies mind and these are two personalities fighting for dominance.  There were moments that I wondered if this would turn into a Fight Club style scenario, but that is not the message of the film.

The Double is about the reclusive people in society, or those imprisoned in a world that wants them to disappear and to be somebody else.  Whether that’s to become a member of society that just fits in, or somebody that has the confidence to have complete control of their situation this is about the dangers of not having a voice in a world where you have to be noticed or you are just part of a very big dull crowd.  The voice you have may say “yes, I am committed to improving society” or “I’m different, notice me” but it’s about being somebody, and The Double says don’t be lost or you just may be replaced.

The Double is a good film and Richard Ayoade truly creates something special.  At the conclusion of the tale you’ll be confused and be questioning what you’ve actually seen but you will also be impressed.  For the people who enjoy having their brain cells tested a little, The Double makes you question your place in society and shows just how impressive an actor Jesse Eisenberg can be (along with an excellent cast).

The Double is available on DVD and Blu-ray from August 4th.

Review originally posted on PissedOffGeek

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