How do you like your Jesse Eisenberg – nebbish, dweeby and overly nervous (The Squid and The Whale), or cocky, bullish, and totally in charge (The Social Network)? Why choose when you can have BOTH in Richard Ayoade‘s crazed second feature – The Double, based on Fyodor Dostoevsky‘s second novel of the same name, with a script co written by Harmony Korine’s brother Avi
We first meet the lesser Eisenberg – Simon James – a 1984ish worker drone, stuck in a rut. Barely noticed or appreciated, he goes through life hoping for more – to climb the corporate ladder, and to climb into the heart of fellow co-worker and neighbor Mia Wasikowska. Everything changes when a look-a-like, James Simon – also Eisenberg, starts work at his company, and fulfills his dreams… for himself. The new brash Eisenberg does what the shy old Eisenberg can’t – he becomes the apple of the boss (Wallace Shawn)’s eye, and the orange of Wasikowska’s heart. So much for dreams, as this is a total nightmare!!
A nightmare indeed, but Ayoade keeps the dark material as light as he can, and makes it as fun as he can too. The same was true of his mostly brilliant debut Submarine, and with these two films in the bag, Ayoade has made himself a director to be watched, and to be greatly admired. Submarine was very Rushmore-y, and I was curious if his follow-up would be more of the same, the way that every Wes Anderson movie is more of the same (but not in a good way). The Double is not more of the same, it’s a leap from Submarine, in both style and substance, but equally mostly brilliant, and we can’t wait to see where his next leap takes us
Obviously Ayoade has fans on the inside too, as such killer actors as Sally Hawkins, Noah Taylor, James Fox, Paddy Considine, Cathy Moriarty, Craig Roberts, Rade Serbedzija and Yasmin Paige signed up for Double duty in the teeniest tiniest of roles. Oh yeah, I forgot to include Chris O’Dowd on that list, but he’s not a killer actor. He’s annoying and unfunny. He’s like an Irish Seth Rogen
Anywho, Ayoade ALL THE DAYS!!!!!!
Verdictgo: basically Breast In Show
The Double is up, not down today in limited release AND on-demand!
and until next thyme the balcony is clothed…