The Double is the new film by Richard Ayoade, who made Submarine a couple of years ago.
This is a major change of pace and mood from his first film, which was an endearing coming-of-age movie set in Wales in the 1980s. Ayoade has taken Dostoevsky's short story and reimagined it in a world very reminiscent of Terry Gilliam's Brazil. Jesse Eisenberg is a put upon and down trodden wage slave working in a company run by the ubiquitous but invisible Colonel. He's in love with Mia Wasikowska, a co-worker, but he is so invisible, withdrawn and apologetic for his very existence, that no one notices when his doppelganger appears, who calls himself James Simon (Eisenberg's character is called Simon James). The new guy is everything the old guy isn't – outgoing, popular and confident, chatting up everyone in sight, and making a move on Maya. Initially, he seems happy to coach the dweeb in how to run his life better, but soon he moves into overdrive, and begins o take over everywhere.
The film reminds me of – in no particular order – The Apartment, Bartleby, Eraserhead, Brazil, Fight Club and many more excellent films, and I can't quite decide if this is a good or a bad thing, or just a thing. In any case, it's an original and bold film, often funny, always memorable, and probably deserving of a second viewing.
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