Simon James (Jesse Eisenberg), a timid young man, works as an office drone for Mr. Papadopoulos (Wallace Shawn) at data processing firm. He has a crush on one of his co-workers, Hannah (Mia Wasikowska), but he doesn't have the courage to ask her out. One day, his doppelganger, James Simon (Eisenberg), shows up as his colleague. Although they both look exactly alike, James is confident and suave unlike Simon. The more that James works there, the more invisible Simon becomes---in fact, at one point, Simon can't even get passed his workplace's security even when he shows his ID. James essentially takes over Simon's life and steals awake his love iterest, Hannah.
Based on the novella by Fyodor Dostoevsky, the screenplay by writer/director Richard Ayoade and co-writer Avi Korine goes into a very bizarre territory in a way that's visually stylish, unpredictable and, most importantly, never boring. Yes, it makes seem complex and you might feel like you're sitting through a mind-f*ck at times, but it's not complicated or exhausting like other mindf*cks are (see Mulholland Drive or The Tree of Life for truly nauseating mindf*cks). Anyone who compares The Double to Enemy will end up in a cul-de-sac argument because they both share only one plot point in common: the presence of a doppelganger. The explanation of why or how Simon's doppelganger exists isn't explains nor does it have to be; any less intelligent filmmaker would've spoon-feed the audience with exposition instead of leaving it up to the audience's imagination. Fortunately, Jessie Eisenberg is just the right actor for the dual roles of James and Simon, and gives convincing performances in both cases.
Much like in Submarine, Ayoade gives provides his film with interesting choices for lighting and set design along with camera angles that makes for quite an aesthetically pleasing ride that would probably be best appreciated on the big screen. This is the kind of film that could easily be studied and analyzed shot by shot in film school. With its effective use of magical realism and increasingly suspenseful plot, The Double manages to be one of the boldest and imaginative films of the year.
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