|THE DOUBLE (director/writer: Richard Ayoade; screenwriters: novella by Fyodor Dostoevsky/story by Avi Korine/Avi Korine; cinematographer: Erik Alexander Wilson; editors: Nick Fenton/Chris Dickens; music: Andrew Hewitt; cast: Jesse Eisenberg (Simon/James), Mia Wasikowska (Hannah), Wallace Shawn (Mr. Papadopoulos), Yasmin Paige (Melanie, the boss’s daughter), Phyllis Somerville (Mother), Noah Taylor (Harris), Yasmin Paige (Melanie), Cathy Moriarty (Kiki), J. Mascis (Janitor), Chris O'Dowd (Nurse), Christopher Morris (Workers' Services Executive), Paddy Considine ('The Replicator' - Jack), James Fox (the Colonel); Runtime: 93; MPAA Rating: R; producers: Robin C. Fox/Amina Dasmal; Magnolia Pictures; 2013)|
comedy about contemporary urban
by Dennis Schwartz
actor and video director Richard Ayoade
("Submarine"), directs with verve this bleak dark
comedy about contemporary urban alienation.
It's loosely based on a Feodor Dostoyevsky early
novella, in 1864.
loser clerk Simon (Jesse Eisenberg)
works unrecognized in a tiny
office cubicle at a drab data-processing building, a
place Kafka would be familiar with. The meek Simon
suffers from daily humiliations as he's scorned by his
mother (Phyllis Somerville) and ignored
by both his boss, Mr. Papadopoulos (Wallace
Shawn), and an attractive coworker, someone he
romantically dreams about, Hannah (Mia Wasikowska).
James (also played by Eisenberg), who looks exactly
like Simon but has an opposite personality, gets
hired and the newcomer immediately becomes the
firm's favorite. Simon gets the ladies man James to
mentor him on how to be more outgoing and a winner,
but the lessons fail.
pic plays out as an allegory. Its storyline
staleness is fought off by curious cameos from a
number of stars, that include Sally Hawkins as an
annoying bureaucratic functionary,
Chris O'Dowd as a creepy nurse, the musician
J. Mascis as a janitor, James Fox as the
ominous Big Brother figure known as The Colonel and
British satirist Christopher Morris as
a Workers' Services Executive.
Eisenberg is up to the task of convincingly pulling off the dual role. The pic is well-crafted. It also does a fine job capturing bureaucratic tedium. In fact, things go well until the misplaced final act leaves everything muddled. But even if I'm not too excited about it entirely, I still found it decent overall.
REVIEWED ON 12/3/2014 GRADE: B-
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
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