October 16, 2013 - 11:37 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - Richard Ayoade directed and co-wrote with Avi Korine The Double, which stars Jesse Eisenberg and Mia Wasikowska in an adaptation of Dostoevsky’s doppelganger tale that played at last month’s Toronto Film Festival. Magnolia Pictures has picked up U.S. rights and plans a theatrical release in 2014, according to Deadline.
Eisenberg plays Simon, a timid, isolated man who’s overlooked at work, scorned by his mother, and ignored by the woman of his dreams (Wasikowska). The arrival of a new co-worker, James (also played by Eisenberg), serves to upset the balance.
“A Kafkaesque surreal comedy, The Double is a neat reworking of a Dostoyevsky novella that shows Richard Ayoade's growing confidence as a film-maker.
Ayoade's first feature, Submarine, was a Wes Anderson-light coming of age story set in 1980s Wales, or more correctly a remembered pop-culture-inflected 1980s Wales. A similar pseudo-period feel is given to The Double, a 1980s Reaganite relic where the walls are always beige, the TVs are small and office computers are rudimentary.
Simon lives his life in a totalitarian corporate world that is forever artificially lit, wearing his suit both at the office and home. With co-workers constantly monitoring his actions, along with references to pleasing their enigmatic boss the Colonel, the movie is as much set in Orwell's 1984 as the actual one.
A sluggish start gradually reveals more of the nightmarish world he inhabits, before doppelganger James arrives. Despite looking identical he is the opposite of Simon - charming with women, confident at work and assertive around others. In a spate of Kafkaesque cruelty this carbon copy muscles in on Simon's life, dating Hannah, passing off his office work as his own and even taking the keys to his apartment.
Eisenberg, who made his name spouting Aaron Sorkin's sharp dialogue as Mark Zuckerberg in The Social Network, brilliantly performs the dual roles - one infuriatingly meek and the other irritatingly arrogant. He's bolstered by the luminous Wasikowska, along with an eclectic mix of British comedic talent including Chris O'Dowd, Tim Key and Chris Morris (as well as the whole cast of Submarine in cameo roles). Ayoade clearly still has his fellow IT Crowd cast members on speed dial.
Just don't expect a lot of laughs. Too patterned, too arch; it's a film you admire with detachment rather than love with investment. But in Ayoade, we have a burgeoning British talent who has moved on from Submarine to develop a genuinely distinctive style. I eagerly await whatever nightmarish world he constructs next,” a review published at IB Times said.