Film review: The Double

Richard Ayoade’s The Double is the second film about identical individuals to play in the Czech Republic in the past month. The other one, Denis Villeneuve’s Enemy, which starred Jake Gyllenhaal in the double lead, played at Febiofest but has not yet been picked up for distribution.

Both films show signs of noir, with a lot of the action taking place in yellow-hued, toxic-looking daylight (Enemy) or at night time and inside windowless buildings where the rooms are lit with hard yellow lights (The Double). Also, both stories are adaptations of works by renowned novelists — the former from José Saramago and the latter from Dostoyevsky. The two films are surprisingly similar in tone, with very thin story lines enveloped in a sense of utter hopelessness that, especially in The Double, seems positively Kafkaesque.

Set in an anonymous city at an unknown time in what is more a world of nightmares than that of actual reality (thus differing slightly from the recognizable yet alien Toronto landscape presented in Enemy), Ayoade’s film seems to have borrowed its somber ambience from Terry Gilliam’s Brazil, with all devices simultaneously appearing to be advancements of and regressions from those of the present day.

To read the full review, visit The Prague Post.

(Still of Jesse Eisenberg in The Double. Photo by Dean Rodgers – © 2014 – Magnolia Pictures)