When Simon (Jesse Eisenberg) gets to work he finds that this double has usurped his tenuous position in the company. Routinely humiliated by his boss (played to perfection by Wallace Shawn), the neurotic Simon now has to deal with a doppelgänger that is everything he isn’t: confident, charming, successful, superficial.
Eisenberg plays both roles with complete conviction. As Simon, he is fatally ineffectual, unable to communicate his ideas at work even when they’re brilliant — and a desperate failure when it comes to the woman of his dreams, played by Mia Wasikowska. On the other hand Eisenberg plays Simon’s double as a gloss on his performance in The Social Network: a character fed by the fumes of his own ego. To watch the two of them battle in Ayoade’s seamless movie magic is to see an eternal psychic struggle come to life.
Based on Fyodor Dostoevsky’s novella, The Double was directed by professional funny-man Richard Ayoade.
I haven’t read much Dostoevsky, save for the mandatory high school Crime and Punishment assignment, so I’m not really familiar with the source material here. I did really enjoy Submarine, Ayoade’s directorial debut, so I’m kind of interested to check this out.
Really, the only thing holding me back is that it kind of reminds me of a really disturbing and surreal nightmare I once had (that’s probably the point).
The Double premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival today (that’s September 7 if you’re reading this in the distant future), but doesn’t have a wide release date yet.