It’s been a few years since the release of Submarine cemented Richard Ayoade as a respected, highly regarded, nay peer appreciated film writer and director, but he’s been working away at his latest movie The Double. Sadly, it’s not the cinematic re-imagining of the computer games classic, Double Dragon, although that would have been equally well received, but an adaptation of Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s 1846 novella of the same name.
It’s a long way from his roles in The IT Crowd and The Mighty Boosh, but it should build on the the comedy that made them and Submarine work so well. The film premiered at the 2013 Toronto Film Festival this month (September) with rave reviews, so should be one to look out for when it gets it’s general release next year.
The Double builds on the concept of the doppelgänger, which in literature terms predates Dostoyevsky’s take on it by a long way. Recreating this, Ayoade has fashioned an adaptation that sees exact match polar opposites colliding in the bureaucratic world of office politics.
The movies centres around mild mannered and seriously oppressed office worker, Simon James, played by Jesse Eisenberg (To Rome With Love, Now You See Me). His mundane existence of being trodden on and generally overlooked by work hottie Hannah, who’s played by Mia Wasikowska (Lawless), is pierced by the sudden appearance of his cocky and influential doppelgänger, James Simon (not surprisingly also played by Eisenberg).
As his double quickly becomes the boss’ favourite, while also taking Hannah as his girlfriend, the duller original is driven to the brink of insanity in the dark comedy.
Eisenberg’s duel roles and Wasakowska’s casting as Hannah are added to by a slightly more grown up Yasmin Paige, who worked with Ayoude as Jordana Bevan in Submarine. Ayoade has also cast his father-in-law, James Fox, in the film, while also giving a brief cameo to Chris Morris, who previously played Denholm Reynholm in The IT Crowd.
Whether there are parallels with Fight Club’s ego splitting myopia remain to be seen, but from all angles The Double looks like it’s going to be one to watch and an excellent return to form for Richard Ayoade. The trailer is overtaken by music and this is a big part of the style of the film, which was also a key ingredient in the success of Submarine, featuring original solo tracks by Alex Turner. There are a number of farcical scenes in the movie too, building on the whimsical side of Ayoade’s comic writing, as well as the darker, brooding comedy that the Toronto Film Festival premier confirmed.