JESSE EISENBERG MIA WASIKOWSKA WALLACE SHAWN CATHY MORIARTY SALLY HAWKINS CHRIS O’DOWD PADDY CONSIDINE
Writer/director Richard Ayoade’s first film since Submarine, a movie that was largely undervalued and comically brilliant; The Double couldn’t be farther from an enjoyable experience. Thankfully I was able to watch this film in the comfort of my own home where I often yelled things like, “just kill yourself already”, or “please end”. The Double is a frustrating experience, much like a nightmare where you are racing against time or one of those where everything seems normal except that it isn’t. Reaching for the likes of Stanley Kubrick of perhaps Michel Gondry, The Double is chaotic, unsettling, unnerving and feels like a never ending nightmare even at a mere 88 minutes.
Simon (Eisenberg) is a lonely, quiet, introverted, clueless about society professional working in a secret government lab. He yearns to impress his co-worker and neighbor across the street, Hannah (Wasikowska) whom be spies on with a telescope. “Pretty unnoticeable, a non-person really,” one co-worker describes him. Simon is frustrated almost always, unprepared, and constantly faces a world turned against him. Insert James (Eisenberg) who is identical to Simon in appearance, but in every other way he is different. Climbs to the top of the latter with Simon helping him, has all women begging for him, everyone at the office wants to be his friend. It’s an identity crisis for the ages.
Ayoade presents every scene, more strange and weird than the previous. There are to the scripts credit some great lines thrown in around the uninteresting material. For instance when James explains to Simon why ice cream in a cone on a date is bad, or where to put your hand on a woman’s back and why, or why two men can never ride a motorcycle together. There are small flares of the creativity I saw in Submarine (especially since the entire cast of that film makes an appearance in this one), but I can hardly think of a more annoying film in 2014 than The Double.
It’s come to my attention that Oscar nominee Eisenberg can play one of two roles. He is either the malfunctioning weirdo with society problems and low self-esteem, or he is the pompous and arrogant enlightened one. The Double gives him a chance to play the limit of his abilities at the same time. The screenplay deals a lot with suicide, making jokes about it, even condoning it in certain places. Finally, suicide is the answer to all of the problems Simon seems to be facing. The Double is labeled a comedy by IMDB, but I think that’s a stretch, it’s the darkest of mind teasers and the most annoying of the suspense genre.
Final Thought – Maybe the year’s most unnerving excuse for a film.
By: Dustin Chase