Title: The Double
Director: Richard Ayoade
Starring: Jesse Eisenberg, Mia Wasikowska, Wallace Shawn, Cathy Moriarty, Sally Hawkins, Chris O’Dowd.
Richard Ayoade moulds the human dramatic quest to find recognition in others into a very dark comedy, reshaping Dostoyevsky’s ‘The Double’ in a Kafkaesque journey through absurdity.
Simon James (Jesse Eisenberg) is trapped in an eerie, Orwellian nightmare, living in a lonely tower block and stuck in perpetual night. He works for a sinister company with the obscure objective to turn people into data “as there is no such thing as a special person”. Simon is aware he is not special. Actually he’s a forgettable non-person. And this consciousness will reinforce itself when his Doppelgänger James Simon (also Eisenberg) shows up to win over his office and his girl.
Ayoade’s film is a startling portrait of a world which aesthetically looks like the future as envisioned by the past, and thematically uses the claustrophobic microcosm to delve into man’s most haunting existential consternations.
British comedic actor, Richard Ayoade (most famously known for playing Maurice Moss in the UK sitcom ‘The IT Crowd’), in his directorial transition (as of 2010 with his debut feature ‘Submarine’) has proved to be an intellectual with a great hand on the camera.
The references to ‘The Metamorphoses,’ Aki Kaurismaki, Federico Fellini’s adaptation of Edgar Allan Poe’s ‘Toby Dammit’ (in the ‘Histoires extraordinaires’ made in collaboration with directors Louis Malle and Roger Vadim) echo Ayoade’s idea of inconsequential invisibility.
The Nigerian-Norwegian filmmaker from England brings back the great craft of film-making, where make-believe becomes the tool to traverse the human soul; in this case through a purgatorial headspace drenched in a disturbing auburn light.
Written by: Chiara Spagnoli Gabardi