The true story of the rivalry between Jesse Eisenberg and Michael Cera (Not really).
Jesse Eisenberg is perhaps best known for his awkward on screen persona but he recently he has branched out. With Now You See Me Eisenberg was cocky and confident. With The Social Network he combined the confidence and the awkwardness to create something great. With The Double he plays all of the above split into two characters. Pretty damn impressive.
Director Richard Ayoade is less consistent with his sophomore effort. Tarantino has made a career out of wearing his influences on his sleeve to make movies that become more than the sum of their parts. Ayoade tries this with The Double but short.
The influences are obvious – From literature, the bizarre paranoia of Kafka with a splash of the absurd bureaucracy of Catch 22. From film, the work of Charlie Kaufman and Alfred Hitchcock plus massive nods to Terry Gilliam’s Brazil and David Lynch’s Eraserhead and Fight Club looms large throughout as well. The difficulty here is borrowing from such highly regarded influences without becoming a pale imitation of them. Ayoade brings some tricks of his own along to give him his due. The lighting and soundtrack are eerie and disconcerting and fit perfectly and the huge list of cameo’s just about stays the right side of enjoyable without becoming distracting.
Sadly The Double doesn’t seem anywhere near as sure of itself as Ayoade’s stunning cinematic début Submarine. It is possible that he over reached himself with this brave and ambitious film but it is still a mostly successful curiosity that I look forward to watching again.