This is a daring clean break from the brilliant Submarine. The two films share their wry sense of humour but otherwise are poles apart. Fortunately it pays off, The Double is a fantastic piece of work.
The world Ayoade builds is terrifying, but memorable. It’s a moody dystopia reminiscent of Brazil; dark, oppressive, punctuated by flashes of beauty and light. He has a knack for getting what’s in his head on screen, paralleled only by Wes Anderson.
Eisenberg puts in a good performance as a man faced with another man who is identical to him, but in looks alone. He seems to be a part of the scenery, a man stuck in his world. It’s Kafka-esque (yes, I know it’s a Dostoyevsky book…), and makes the film even more claustrophobic.
Ironically enough, The Double’s main failing is its plot, an aspect that outwardly should be the most compelling aspect of the film. The clash between Eisenberg’s ‘identical’ characters doesn’t carry much weight; it almost feels like the two have bigger fish to fry.
This is forgiveable because everything else to do with the film succeeds in building intrigue. It’s rare to see all elements combine to make such a unique aesthetic. The script, the performances, the lighting, the score and the direction all complement each other.
The Double proves Ayoade isn’t a one-hit-wonder. I can’t wait to revisit this film in a few years.