Saturday, February 14, 2015

The Double (2013)

Director: Richard Ayoade
Writers:  Richard Ayoade, Fyodor Dostoevsky (Novel), Avi Korine
Cast:       Jesse Eisenberg, Mia Wasikowska, Wallace Shawn

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 copy and his opposite- confident, charismatic and seductive with women.

It is kind of strange in the sense that it is a modern retelling of Dostoevsky's novel of the same name but by modern we don't mean contemporary. It is set in an Orwellian place ruled by a dictator who is referred to as Colonel. But the oppression there is the normal dictator variety instead of going to the extremes of 1984. The film is not really about this aspect of the setting since it could very well have been set in a modern capitalistic society where the daily grind takes its toll on the protagonist. We generally find happiness when we are comfortable in our own skins but the clerk in the story is anything but. So enters an exact replica of his physical self who is exact opposite of how he generally behaves. You don't have to be a rocket scientist to figure out what is going on. To be fair the director is not trying to make this a twist as it seems only the protagonist is not aware of what is going on inside his mind. The trouble is that we have got a better version of this story in David Fincher's 'Fight Club' which most of us would have watched. While Fincher's was much more of a rant against the capitalistic system, this one is more of a character study. 

Overall it is a good watch. It is not as darkly funny as it should be and I am bit tired of Jesse Eisenberg playing Jesse Eisenberg in films. Mia Wasikowska is excellent as usual as are the settings, cinematography and the soundtrack. It could be described as a PG-13, romantic version of 'Fight Club'. All the voyeurism in it also reminded me of Kieslowski's 'A Short Story About Love'.

Rating: 3/5