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Categories: Movie Reviews

Currently one of Britain’s most loveable and intelligent comedians, Richard Ayoade is making a name for himself as a brilliant feature film director.

With his debut Submarine (2010) making waves in the independent film scene it was only natural that his next feature The Double would cause a lot of interest and rightly so.

The Double brings us a much darker tone although Ayoade’s wit and humour still shines through. Main star Jessie Eisenberg manages to perform multiple personalities creating a perfect juxtaposition which is carried throughout the film.

Our underdog protagonist, Simon is a social recluse lacking self-confidence which prevents him from getting anywhere in love, life or career. Simon works a monotonous job as a clerk for a government agency but his life takes a dramatic turn when a new co-worker arrives. James (also played by Jessie) is physically identical to Simon however their personalities could not be more different. Unlike Simon, James is a very self-assured man, seductive and manipulative.

Hannah (Mia Wasikowska), is a young woman Simon awkwardly falls in love with unable to share his thoughts and feeling towards her, he settles for watching her at a distance. When Hannah is seduced by James however Simon finally musters up the courage to do something about it.


Based on the novella by Fyodor Dostoevsky, Richard Ayoade and Avi Korine joined to write the screenplay for this Sci-Fi tale. If you are familiar with Richard Ayoade you will notice a lot of familiar faces. It’s not unusual for directors to work with the same people and it’s great to see a director has found a group of talented actors that they know work well together whilst bringing the desired emotions and actions to the characters.

Ayoade has succeeded once again in battling emotional and social issues whilst keeping the characters and story interesting. This time I feel he brings a lot more of his own personal style and expresses a lot of his thoughts in this film giving it an extremely unique look and feel.

Ayoade proves that it is possible to be skilled in the creative and technical sides of directing by adding his creative input from all sides of the production such as set design, costume as well as character development and the mise-en-scene.

The atmosphere and humour of The Double has a slight familiarity to Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace. The film has a retro/futuristic style, the setting is very vague enabling the production team to create a new unusual world with sombre yet amusing aesthetics. Earthy colours of browns and greens are used with harsh yellow lighting, never using any natural light makes the atmosphere seem stuffy and stale. We’re taken to a strange dystopia where objects, style and even machinery are backwards in time.

The film doesn’t seem to be set in any particular place or country, all the actors are able to perform in their own accents giving no definition of where they are. This is quite a unique world where people appear to live quite uncomfortably and even rather repressed, however it is exhilarating to watch and has a satisfying outcome, so that even for a strange and unique tale such as this, you can still make sense of.


As a film fanatic, I love to write/talk about them as well as making short form films. I aspire to host my own screening events and one day make a feature film.

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