Movie Review
The Double
The Double poster
By Lee Tistaert     Published May 12, 2014
US Release: May 9, 2014

Directed by: Richard Ayoade
Starring: Jesse Eisenberg , Mia Wasikowska , Sally Hawkins

R for language
Running Time: 93 minutes
Domestic Box Office: $141,000
99 of 111
Downers can be entertaining to me, believe it or not, but this downer film practically did nothing right.
The Double is a dark comedy/drama about what itís like to be very alone and very strange. The main character, played by Jesse Eisenberg, is a lonely push-over who doesnít like where he is in life, and he fumbles in social situations and has no skills when it comes to talking to girls. Heís not respected at work and he spends his alone hours at home spying on other apartments to see what these people are doing. Heís given a mind-job when someone appears at his workplace who has exactly the same body as him, also played by Eisenberg, and this figure is the polar opposite of him and can do everything he cannot. His double tries to help him but his level of incompetence is so extreme that there is literally no hope. His double takes advantage of him in everything he cannot do which sets off a fury of jealousy-fueled situations and creates a war between the two personalities leaving the main character unhappier. Whoís going to win in the end Ė Will it be the pathetic nerd who doesnít have a life or his opposite?

This film made me really, really angry, and Iím not accustomed to feeling this angry during a movie. Itís not exactly entertainment value to watch a character slog his way through life bitter and unhappy and be unable to do almost anything right and be expected to root for this bummer to do something right. Normally depressing films donít bother me that much and ironically, films that are more downers in their structures tend to make me more fulfilled than watching overt feel-good fare. For some reason Iíd much rather take an effective downer picture than something where you know it has a happy ending. When a film tries to make you feel bad or strange and itís effective, itís a visceral experience for me. I love visceral experiences and very few films deliver a level of psychologically-effective drama. This film wants to be the best visceral experience of the year and practically nothing in it worked on me.

I hated the main character, I hated his double, and I hated the dreary direction through every scene. Watching the main character fumble everything made me embarrassed to be watching him, and watching his double take advantage of him wasnít even depressing to watch; it was just poorly done. Thereís nothing believable about this story and basically nobody talks and behaves the way these characters do. Itís almost like these characters exist in a surreal alternate bleak universe that can only exist in a film created from an unusually eccentric screenwriterís imagination who thinks theyíre clever.

Well, to be clever, you need to be believable, and part of believability is establishing a connection. There need to be elements that make sense and there needs to be some sort of sympathy level going on. When practically nobody speaks like a human being, thereís a problem in trying to go along with it. We either need to care about this central loser or need to care about his opposite and we donít. The only bright spot is the attempted love interest whoís the only one here worth saying anything positive on. When she starts to favor the double over the central character, weíre basically on her side, and thatís not a good thing because weíre supposed to feel bad that the central character canít do anything right.

Thereís nothing presented in this film that is going to turn into positive word of mouth and it has an ending worth mockery. Iím not going to give it away, but nobody is going to care about what happens. Itís a depressing film with a depressing ending but I didnít feel depressed at all Ė I was just really angry. Thereís nobody in the story that I cared about and I just desperately wanted this film to be over. It was only an hour and a half and yet the level of misery I was in made it feel like it was much longer. Thereís a level of rage I felt that I donít normally feel because watching a pathetic nerd in an unrealistic world isnít any fun to watch, as when you go to the movies there is supposed to be a sense of entertainment value. Downers can be entertaining to me, believe it or not, but this downer film practically did nothing right.
Lee's Grade: D+
Ranked #99 of 111 between Sabotage (#98) and Only Lovers Left Alive (#100) for 2014 movies.
Lee's Overall Grading: 3025 graded movies
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'The Double' Articles
  • Craig's review A-
    May 7, 2014    Insanely clever and original, exactly the kind of film 2014 has been waiting for. -- Craig Younkin