The Double movie poster
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The Double
The Double movie poster

The Double Movie Review

Now available on Blu-ray and DVD (Buy on Amazon)

A repressed Jesse Eisenberg encounters his less-repressed doppelganger in a dystopian 1984-esque world in The Double, a strange but alluring little film that works largely because it's set in a dystopian 1984-esque world.

Eisenberg plays a dude named Simon James who has the hots for the copy girl Hannah (Mia Wasikowska), who in turn has the hots for the cavalier new guy James Simon, who is not to be confused with Simon James, even though they look exactly alike. James Simon befriends Simon James and encourages him to be more aggressive and assertive, but really, he has his own agenda. Sort of.

The Double is your pretty typical doppelganger picture, but the atmosphere established by writer/director Richard Ayoade transforms the film into something more. The movie's surreal, alternate reality setting is a feast to behold, every detail of every set a pleasant if not clever addition. These details, set against a bleak and seemingly hopeless landscape of corporate monotony and anonymity, help highlight the dark humor littered throughout the story.

As a result, Jesse Eisenberg is just a cog in the wheel of something greater than either of his characters, though the future Lex Luthor does a fine job. Simon and James are perfectly suited for the actor, who distinguishes the two characters just enough from one another for them to be unique individuals, while keeping them similar enough to make the story hold true to its premise. Mia Wasikowska delivers a strong performance as well.

The Double is quirky and weird but oddly alluring. While rarely outright funny, the film straddles the point between drama, thriller and black comedy well. Due to its premise, though, it's not for everyone; the movie is strange and sometimes nuanced in its approach, a style that mainstream audiences tend not to embrace so handedly.

Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.

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