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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Identity crisis
Dostoyevsky’s minor classic short story sees a downtrodden office clerk Yakov Petrovich Golyadkin (played here as Simon James by Jesse Eisenberg) brought to the brink of madness, when a doppelganger comes to his workplace and no one but Simon seems to see that they are essentially the same person. Whether Dostoyevsky’s protagonist is suffering from...
Published 3 months ago by Scaroth, Last of the Jagaroth

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3 of 10 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Emotionally exhausting.
I love both Jesse Eisenberg and Mia Wasikowska - they are no doubt talented young actors, so I was very excited to see the film based on study of psychological condition of one "little man" by no other than Feodor Dostoyevsky.

Now, I doubt you will enjoy this film unless you are very into intellectually demanding films, and you don't care about the story as...
Published 2 months ago by Lola


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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Identity crisis, 20 April 2014
This review is from: The Double [DVD] [2014] (DVD)
Dostoyevsky’s minor classic short story sees a downtrodden office clerk Yakov Petrovich Golyadkin (played here as Simon James by Jesse Eisenberg) brought to the brink of madness, when a doppelganger comes to his workplace and no one but Simon seems to see that they are essentially the same person. Whether Dostoyevsky’s protagonist is suffering from schizophrenia is unclear but highly probable, and his low self-esteem and feeling that he is an invisible non-person in his highly regimented society only add to his sense of ‘lost-ness’.
Eisenberg is outstanding as both the pathetic Simon and his uber-confident double James, while support from the likes of Wallace Shawn as Simon’s fast-talking line-manager, Tim Key as a creepy nurse, and Mia Wasikowska as Hannah, the girl he worships from afar, ensures that this is a quality affair throughout. Director Richard Ayeoade hits the nail squarely on the head with his second feature, after the disappointingly insubstantial Submarine, and creates a claustrophobic and creepy mood, whilst getting the very best out of his primarily youthful cast.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars YOU'RE IN MY PLACE,, 27 May 2014
By 
The Movie Guy "Movies from A to Z" (United States) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Double [DVD] [2014] (DVD)
Simon James (Jesse Eisenberg) is a rather pathetic introvert. He is "lonely, lost, and invisible" living in a fictional society that could pass for a set on "Eraser Head." Hanna (Mia Wasikowska) works at the same place as Simon and has similar issues of identity. Then along comes James Simon, an individual who looks identical to Simon James except he has personality. He pole vaults to the top of the corporation without knowing what they do.

The film is clearly symbolic and metaphorical, but of what, I am uncertain. One line from the film "giving faceless people immortality" almost seems like a reference to Internet social media such as Facebook. The film is based on a Russian novella by the same name. I have stopped reading Russian novels because there is so much packed into them, they make my head explode.

The novella itself doesn't offer an explanation, although three have been offered by critics:

1) Main character is insane

2) Author is insane

3)'The human will in its search for total freedom of expression becomes a self-destructive impulse.’"

The film was well done as it captured a mood and allowed the viewer to assign their own significance to it. However, this is clearly not a film for everyone. Those who don't like films with massive amounts of symbolism to the point the linear plot doesn't make any sense, need to avoid this one. Dostoyevsky fans are welcomed.

Parental Guide: F-bomb. No sex ot nudity
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An Eisenberg Poem, 22 May 2014
This review is from: The Double [DVD] [2014] (DVD)
"I and the world happen to have a slight difference of opinion," the 18th century religious leader Richard Brothers wrote from the Bedlam asylum; "the world said I was mad, and I said the world was mad. I was outvoted, and here I am."

Simon James (Jesse Eisenberg) does things that in a sane world would seem mad, but in Richard Ayoade's nightmarish bureaucrapolis seem entirely rational. It's well established that if most characters in romantic comedies were transposed to the real world they wouldn't be romantic, they'd be creepy. The Double reverses this idea by making Simon's world so loveless and cynical that any sliver of compassion or empathy shines like a beacon in the dark.

It's a hard sell, spending so much time with one so cripplingly shy. But Simon is as genuinely good as his doppelganger is genuinely unpleasant. Manipulative and misogynistic, James Simon (Eisenberg again, natch) swoops into Simon James' workplace - a brilliantly realised steamy set, reminiscent of Terry Gilliam's Brazil - and seduces everyone, including Simon himself.

At this point it seems as if the film is about to take a turn into familiar Fight Club territory, with a love story between the two men representing each side of a seriously split personality. But, wisely, Ayoade doesn't dwell on the novelty, and the film veers into stranger, darker, more ambiguous territory, where identities and intentions are never fully resolved.

The object of Simon's (and, briefly, James') affection is Hannah (Mia Wasikowska). Again, cliché is narrowly dodged: she's dangerously close to the Manic Pixie Dream Girl template - except there's a heavy, selfish sadness in her that gives Simon cause to truly fight for her affections, and ultimately her faith in humanity.

A blanket of gloom shrouds this film. Not the faint melancholy of Wes Anderson, but something weightier, more existential. Something a bit Russian, perhaps - this is, after all, based on a novella by Fyodor Dostoevsky. The trailer may suggest the tone of the film, but it could never capture its strange, lulling rhythm; its unsettling sound design, all rushing air and backwards footsteps; or its observations on the disconnections between people. It's hard to appreciate the oppressive staginess of the sets, full of fantastically drab early-80s tech, until you're locked into them.

The Double is a splendid film, light on jokes but full of bone-dry, jet-black humour, and overflowing with visual ideas. The style and tone is probably concealing something quite familiar - but when the familiar is this well-hidden you soon stop searching and simply enjoy an imagination running elegantly rampant before your eyes.
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3 of 10 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Emotionally exhausting., 27 May 2014
By 
Lola (London) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Double [DVD] [2014] (DVD)
I love both Jesse Eisenberg and Mia Wasikowska - they are no doubt talented young actors, so I was very excited to see the film based on study of psychological condition of one "little man" by no other than Feodor Dostoyevsky.

Now, I doubt you will enjoy this film unless you are very into intellectually demanding films, and you don't care about the story as much as you care about acting, and setting, and almost palpable events taking place on screen (all symbols and metaphors, with occasional joke - yes, a funny joke! - thrown in). Acting is superb. Jesse Eisenberg, he nails the role. I actually felt that I am watching 2 difference actors on screen, more so as the film progressed. But other than that, the film does not really have much to offer in terms of compassion or your involvement with the leads. It's a love story, but who cares. It's a struggle of a clerk, but who cares. The film does not really have a story, and I do care about the story. As the film of dementia/paranoid person loosing his identity to his alter ego, I don't think the film is a fantastic study. It's too bare, too narrow, too unembellished and leaves you emotionally exhausted.
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3 of 16 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars I specifically said no geeks..., 29 May 2014
By 
Matthew Mercy (Hertfordshire, England) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Double [DVD] [2014] (DVD)
Based on the nineteenth century novella of the same name by Fyodor Dostoyevsky about a man who finds his life usurped by a doppelganger, The Double (2014) is a witless, superficial shell of a movie. The second feature film from The IT Crowd's Richard Ayoade (after the Adrian Mole-inflected coming-of-age comic drama Submarine), it is little more than an assembly of ideas and motifs taken from a range of far superior films (probably all Ayoade's favourites); take one part Fight Club (1999), two parts Brazil (1985), add in a generous dollop of Being John Malkovich (1999), season with a pinch of Barton Fink (1991), and you get this effort, which happily ticks all the usual boxes you'd expect of a frustrated, cynical, science fiction-reading super-nerd like Ayoade.
Failing dystopian society run by soulless bureaucrats? Check.
The sheer horror of working at a spirit-sapping office job? Check.
The ineffectiveness you feel at being a cowardly, half-formed man-boy? Check.
A need for a romantic connection expressed as gazing fixedly and silently at a willowy office beauty from a distance? Check.
Issues with a permanently disapproving mother? Check.
A longing to break down the defences of hateful, sarcastic, intimidating and unattainable teenage girls in order to seduce them? Check.
A longing to beat up bullies? Check.
A longing to be `a hero' and actually have your life `mean something'? Check...and yawn.
Set in so inexplicable a time and place that it might as well be a fairy tale (that's not a compliment), this air of unreality could well be interesting if the movie as a whole wasn't so essentially plotless and meaningless. The lead performances are acceptable, but Jesse Eisenberg, who has played nothing but wired, machine gun-patter mega-geeks in everything from Roger Dodger (2002) to The Social Network (2010) and beyond, is merely doing his usual routine again here, whilst Mia Wasikowska (apparently this year's Jessica Chastain, given that she seems to turn up in a new film every month) doesn't do anything she didn't do in The Grand Budapest Hotel; that is, she spends the film looking pretty and mooning over a loser.
Hideously over-scored with passages of bombastic, classically-flavoured piano music in an effort to suggest that scenes have an urgency and profundity to them that they simply do not, featuring pointless five-line cameos from the likes of Chris Morris and Chris O'Dowd that don't raise so much as a titter, and ending with a real baffler that suggests Ayoade simply ran out of ripped-off ideas, this is an absolute stinker. It is cinema-as-art-installation...if the artist in question was just a clueless sixth-form plonker, that is.
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