The Double Review

The Double

They say everyone has a double.


Although, just last month some random chap in my local alehouse asked for a photo with me as I looked just like one of his best boys.

And yes, he was a handsome looking fellow with a dangerous sense of style.

So maybe they’re right, and we all have some mysterious doppelganger out there living their own so called life.

And as much as I got a kick out of seeing an eerily familiar face staring back at me from some stranger’s mobile phone, what would you do if you ever came face to face with your real life twin?

Well, that’s exactly what Simon James has to confront in The Double wouldn’t you know?

Now Mr James is a simple kind of man with an even simpler kind if life.

He works some boring data analyst type job, in a boring sort of office where everyone wears grey and their sallow faces look as though they’ve been hollowed out and drained of every last trace of life.

But the saddest thing in this sad world is Simon James himself, a man so blank it’s as if he’s not really alive at all.

He lets other people push him around, from his retirement home bound mother, her friend and their cowboy inspired orderly, to people at work and even waitresses in the restaurants who are supposed to wait on him.

Simon James doesn’t really exist, he’s just a ghost of a man.

The only thing that makes him interesting is his not so secret crush on that quintessential girl next door, and she’s only next door because James moved to the same apartment building after spotting her at work.

Until the day a man who bears a striking resemblance to Simon James shows up at his office, and our anti-hero’s world is turned upside down by this James Simon monikered chap.

From the brilliantly offbeat mind of director Richard Ayoade, the man responsible for the offbeat brilliance of Submarine, comes The Double.

Adapted from Russian literary legend Fyodor Dostoevsky’s book of the same name, The Double is a dark comedy about how the way we go about living our live can change these very same lives we have.

As Simon James, Jesse Eisenberg is in his awkwardly shifting element as an unremarkable non-entity who shuffles unimpressively and unnoticed through his so called life.

As James Simon, his cocksure lookalike who’s everything Simon James yearns to be, the man who will be Lex Luthor is a little less convincing; but I suppose The Double is less about this and more about how we all have different faces that we wear for the various roles we play in our own lives.

Everyone wants to be that imagined version of ourselves that exists in our heads, as we walk effortlessly through this life charming the very birds from the skies along our merry way.

And everyone has a weak and insecure side that we try and hide away from the rest of the world.

This theme of duality may not sound like the most seductive idea for a film, but then no british filmmaker does original better than Ayoade these days, and he balances out the weight of The Double’s subject matter with his own unique brand of outrageously dark comedy.

So if you haven’t come face to face with your very own doppelganger yet, I’d recommend checking out The Double while you wait.

Jonathan Campbell

2 Responses to “The Double Review”
  1. avatar Colin Baum says:

    Definitely – not possibly – the worst film I have ever seen – 100% rubbish – sorry !

    • avatar Editor says:

      Everyone’s entitled to their opinion Colin, and I reckon Ayoade would quite like the idea of his films polarising opinion.

      And if The Double is truly the worst film you’ve ever seen, then you’ve lived a charmed life…

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Dates ‘n stuff

April 2014