6.5/10
43,944
150 user 244 critic

The Double (2013)

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A clerk in a government agency finds his unenviable life takes a turn for the horrific with the arrival of a new co-worker who is both his exact physical double and his opposite - confident, charismatic and seductive with women.

Director:

Richard Ayoade
1 win & 11 nominations. See more awards »

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Photos

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Jesse Eisenberg ... Simon / James
Mia Wasikowska ... Hannah
Wallace Shawn ... Mr Papadopoulos
Yasmin Paige ... Melanie
Noah Taylor ... Harris
James Fox ... The Colonel
Cathy Moriarty ... Kiki
Phyllis Somerville ... Simon's Mother
Gabrielle Downey Gabrielle Downey ... Strange Woman
Jon Korkes ... Detective
Craig Roberts ... Young Detective
Kobna Holdbrook-Smith ... Guard / Doctor
Susan Blommaert ... Liz
Bruce Byron Bruce Byron ... Skinhead
J. Mascis ... Janitor (as J Mascis)
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Storyline

Simon is a timid man, scratching out an isolated existence in an indifferent world. He is overlooked at work, scorned by his mother, and ignored by the woman of his dreams. He feels powerless to change any of these things. The arrival of a new co-worker, James, serves to upset the balance. James is both Simons exact physical double and his opposite - confident, charismatic and good with women. To Simons horror, James slowly starts taking over his life. Written by StudioCanal

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official Facebook | Official site | See more »

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

4 April 2014 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Dvojnik See more »

Filming Locations:

London, England, UK See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$14,646, 11 May 2014, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$200,268, 15 August 2014
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The drawing Hannah tears up and throws away evokes Magritte's "Not to Be Reproduced," a painting commissioned by his patron, Edward James. Two identical images of James are depicted in the painting but his face is not shown. The protagonist and his double are named James. See more »

Quotes

Simon: I have all these things that I want to say to her, like... Like how I can tell she's a lonely person, even if other people can't. Cause I know what it feels like to be lost and lonely and invisible.
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Connections

Version of Partner (1968) See more »

Soundtracks

Blue Chateau
Written by Jun Hashimoto, Tadao Inoue
Published by Watanabe Music Publishing Co. Ltd (c) 1967
Administered by Fairwood Music (UK) Ltd for the UK & Eire
Performed by The Blue Comets
Licensed by Nippon Columbia Co. Ltd
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User Reviews

 
Lots of good stuff here, weighed down by some flaws
31 August 2014 | by runamokprodsSee all my reviews

I've now seen two films by the talented Ayodade – the other being his coming of age 'Submarine" - and had a very similar reaction though they are miles apart in style, story and theme.

First, this is a gifted film-maker, who doesn't want to play by the usual rules. Next, he knows how to get off to a great start, build a fascinating world, get you involved with his people, but third, he doesn't quite find ways to make his third acts pay off as interestingly (or powerfully or emotionally) as the first two-thirds of the film promise. In both films the focus drifts to less interesting elements or variations on the stories he's telling.

And last, he needs to lighten up on the too-obvious 'homage's to his cinematic touchstones. In "Submarine" it was (among others) Wes Anderson and "Rushmore". Here the overbearing influences (there are many) are led by Terry Gilliam's "Brazil". There were a large number of design and character choices – while effective - that came close enough that I couldn't help but sit there making comparisons ('Hey, there's Wallace Shawn doing Ian Holm'). And it starts to approach that fine line between inspiration and plagiarism.

That said, there's a lot to like here. The photography is often gorgeous. Jessie Eisenberg does a terrific job in a tough double role – a meek office worker who is suddenly faced with another employee who looks exactly like him. But the new guy has a brash, self-confident personality, everyone loves him, and no one else seems to notice the two are physically exactly alike, right down to their clothes.

This raises interesting questions about personality, perception and reality. Is "James Simon" (the cool one) merely a psychological projection of the nerd, "Simon James"? But if that's the case, why does everyone else interact with both, together and separately? Is it that Simon is the only one who thinks they look alike? i.e. is Simon projecting himself onto someone who – if we saw objectively – wouldn't even really look like him? Well, that would be an interesting idea, and a promising road for the film to explore, and it hints heavily at that possibility, only to simply drop and contradict it.

And that's part of why this is two-thirds of a great film, not a whole one. In the end things play out in a way that has been foreshadowed from early on, and suddenly the film feels less deep, less challenging, more an exercise in cinematic playfulness than an exploration of deeper themes both personal and societal. The head trip becomes too literal, the conclusions too simple for the complex surreal reality we've come to accept

On the plus side, the effects are terrific, and many of the best scenes in the film are Eisenberg talking to himself in one shot. (A hell of an acting challenge as well). And the film has a dark sense of humor that keeps the Kafkaesque world and 'big themes' from becoming ponderous, (Again, I just wish I had less often chuckled, but then thought 'hey, that just like the scene in 'Barton Fink…', or whatever).

In any case I look forward to whatever Ayoade does next, but I hope he will find a way to finish as strong as he starts, and to be brave enough to trust his own very good sense of style, and not borrow quite so much from others.


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