[critical] THE DOUBLE

Thestory : In a world almost dehumanized and industrialized, Simon, a boy introverted and unsure of himself is not able to assert themselves at work or in front of the girl he is in love and he watcheth the evening from his apartment. One day, his boss introduces a new colleague, James, who turns out to be his perfect look-alike but also quite the opposite. First in shock, Simon leaves then little by little James to interfere in his life…

This year, the theme of the double is revisited in two films by two directors. They are both adapted from literary works and other interesting coincidence, come out at two weeks interval only. It is the film of Richard Ayoade , who opened the ball, followed by Enemy by Denis Villeneuve.

But who is Richard Ayoade ? Best known for his work as an actor, this british is passed to the realization in 2010 with the highly acclaimed Submarine, the first film sensitive and promising. We have seen recently appear alongside Ben Stiller in the comedy slapstick Neighbours of the third kind.

It then changes completely to register by tackling the film adaptation of the second novel of Fyodor Dostoevsky : The Double.

Led by Jesse Eisenberg (the star of The Social Network) and Mia Wasikowska (superb in Stoker and Maps to the Stars), it appears quite difficult from the first minute not to make the connection with another movie : the universe in which we are immersed from the opening and especially the place of work of Simon appear to be a copy-paste of those in the story totally out of Terry Gilliam’s, Brazil.

Various absurd elements placed here and there we are smiling because Simon is a looser who is undergoing all the unpleasant annoyances of daily life, which, laid end-to-end we énerveraient quickly. Blasé, he does flinch ever and suffers helplessly. It is also surrounded by characters with strange behavior who don’t recognize ever.

Quickly, it sends a second signal to the viewer when returning home, Simon spies on his neighbour and work colleague Hannah to the long-view. So, we’ve gone in Hitchcock and his Window on the Courtyard, not to mention that the whole, by some twists and turns and situations reminiscent of The Tenant by Roman Polanski.

”The Double seems, therefore, initially stifled by its many influences… It is revealed at the end of a subject hybrid and wobbly, but not unpleasant to follow.”

These references should preferably in as little time seem so obvious that you can’t believe that the film, Ayoade is also devoid of personality…

The answer is not that much.

We should therefore welcome the work of Erik Wilson, the director of photography that saturates the hues of blue, orange and red in the middle of this universe grayish and dark, which always seems warm and welcoming but also fictional and unstable.

The work done around the sound design is also underlined as the various sounds reflect the state of mind in which Simon is such and such a time.

Visually appealing, the film reveals its issues, when it finally appears double of Simon : charismatic, efficient, and seducing anything that moves, James is everything that is not Simon.

Already transparent before his arrival, he threatens to take his place and make it permanently disappear. However, are we ourselves not be entitled to be heard, to have our own opinions in this society, to exist in this world and make us recognizable to our fair value ?

Many issues are universal and almost metaphysical, which will not be here unfortunately only touched upon, especially in the last part that switches suddenly in the thriller paranoia, supported by original music of a classicism, however, welcome.

The Double seems, therefore, initially stifled by its many influences, and is ultimately an object-in hybrid and wobbly but not really unpleasant to follow.

It is, however, entitled to ask whether Richard Ayoade ‘s shoulders were strong enough to bring to the screen a novel as complex and ambitious as that of Dostoevsky, but would probably be denied to begin the production of a scenario pretentious over 3 hours. And we spectators would have refused us to inflict such injury offense.

In this sense, it is an alternative more friendly and accessible than the feature film from Denis Villeneuve.


Original title : The Double

Achievement : Richard Ayoade

Scenario : Richard Ayoade, Avi Korine, based on the work of Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoievski

Main actors : Jesse Eisenberg, Mia Wasikowska , Noah Taylor

Country of origin : England

Released : August 13, 2014

Duration : 1h33min

Distributor : Mars Distribution

Synopsis : shy Boy, Simon lives a secluded life in a world that shows him indifference. Ignored at work, despised by his mother and rejected by the woman of his dreams, he feels unable to take his life in hand. The arrival of a new colleague, James, will change things, because this last is both the perfect lookalike Simon and his exact opposite : confident, charismatic and good with women. This meeting brings James to take gradually the control of the life of Simon…

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