|Jesse Eisenberg and Mia Wasikowska in THE DOUBLE, a Magnolia Pictures release. |
Photo courtesy of Magnolia Pictures.
Photo credit: Dean Rodgers
2014, 93 minutes
Rated R for language
Review by Joshua Handler
The Double is screening as part of New Directors/New Films tomorrow evening at the Film Society of Lincoln Center.
The Double is a heavily stylized film with noirish lighting and surrealism galore. However, as dark and weird as this movie is, Ayoade imbues it with a healthy sense of humor that makes the movie extremely enjoyable. Erik Winton's energetic cinematography adds to the film's surreal atmosphere and uniqueness.
Richard Ayoade and Avi Korine's wickedly funny screenplay features some sharp dialogue and a story that's always compelling with twists and turns. It's exhilarating to watch The Double barrel along. Ayoade keeps the pace extremely fast, never allowing the film to drag.
Jesse Eisenberg gives what might be his best performance(s) yet as Simon and James. As Simon, Eisenberg portrays his usual kind of character - the shy, nervous man. It's his scenes as James where he really gets to shine. James is outgoing, sharp, witty, and a ladies man. Eisenberg gives James a cocky, nasty edge with an outgoingness that I've never seen from him before. These opposing characters are beautifully realized by Eisenberg and it is a pleasure to see him expand his range as an actor.
Overall, The Double is a funny, dark, twisted piece of work that was immensely entertaining to watch. Richard Ayoade seems to have nearly perfected a tone and style with The Double. Ayoade showed serious directorial promise with his directorial debut feature, Submarine, but Submarine was too heavy on style and too light on story. With The Double, Ayoade strikes the perfect balance between style and substance, making me very excited to see what he comes up with next.