Is there some unwritten law that says it’s a good idea to make movies in which the main character is an ineffectual wimp? If I want to follow the adventures of Charlie Brown, I’ll read the goddamn Peanuts.
Such is the feeling I had during the first half-hour (and more than a few times in the other two half-hours) of Richard Ayoade’s The Double. The one saving grace is that Jesse Eisenberg is likable, and his presence goes a long way in alleviating the homicidal rage that burns away whenever his dumb character Simon James does something meek (so every 30 seconds).
The Double is based on Dostoyevsky’s novel, but it owes Terry Gilliam’s Brazil, David Lynch’s Eraserhead, and even David Fincher’s fucking Fight Club an assload more than it does Yakov Petrovich Golyadkin. Thankfully the movie gets better as it goes along, but the first third is so maddening you may want to walk out.
I’m not suggesting you stay, but it does improve—especially when Eisenberg gets a crack at playing the double, James Simon. I’d give the sound design, production design and direction props, but they’re all so derivative they don’t deserve it. The Double avoids a barf because of J Mascis’ needless cameo.
Directed by Richard Ayoade
With Eisenberg and Mia Wasikowska
Jean Cocteau Cinema