Jesse Eisenberg as both Simon and James gives two brilliant performances.
The world The Double is set that of an inexact locale with a bizarre yet timeless fell. The technology present throughout resembles some form of aberration of seventies technology whose functionality seems unwieldy at best as if the world is being constricted by the rules that govern and unable to grow. This is combined with numerous accents on display, which combined with some delightful and purposeful drab cinematography creates a world that is immediately recognizable when one simply looks at one part, but as a whole is otherworldly.
In this world a young timed man called Simon lives. Simon is a young, timid man who lives his life in loneliness, but desperately seeks to connect with others. He works long hours as a clerk in a government agency where he along with his own work does others with no thanks. Only leaving when only those left cleaning where he works remain. From every angle Simon is thoroughly ignored and beaten down by the society he lives and is regarded as being completely forgettable by those who do recognize him. Simon in particular yearns to connect with a young woman called Hannah that he creates reasons to see whilst at work and also watches from his apartment with a telescope. Just as it seems as if he may have made some progress a man called James enters his life.
The cinematography is gorgeous and helps create a film with
a very otherworldly feel.
James is physically an exact double of Simon, however Simon acts and is viewed by the world is the reverse of James. Brimming with confidence Simon is quick to get to know Simon, and quickly uses Simon to quickly rise in the ranks. In many ways Simon has numerous traits that one would associate with a sociopath and is happy to use anyone if it is of benefit to himself, which leads to Simon's world crashing lower from its already largely intolerable state.
In spite of this The Double whilst never promoting uncontrollable laughter is frequently amusing and never enters the territory of being depressing thanks to the largely self concious tone present throughout. Jesse Eisenberg as Simon and James along with ever reliable Mia Wasikowska as Hannah excel in their roles and in spite of the odd world presented or the self concious tone provide for some genuine heart that could very easily have been missing. Likewise the sound design and the music composed by Andrew Hewitt perfectly reinforce what is happening in a way that has the film swing seamlessly from quirky to a film with dramatic weight behind it. Andrew Hewitt's score is particularly memorable and helps in reinforcing the odd tone already present throughout, along with highlighting key moments with a unique and score that manages to come ever so close to being over bearing whilst never becoming so.
Despite of the praise above The Double is a film that from the first frame to the last is a film that is clearly going to divide audiences. In spite of this The Double is more then endearing enough to come with my highest recommendation and I can't wait to see what the director (Richard Ayoade) does in the future.