Sundance Review: The Double
Some movies are an acquired taste. The Double fits that category and THEN SOME. For people that just can't get into surrealist/stylish films like Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Moulin Rouge! or Amelie (which are all not perfect examples since they're way more mainstream than The Double...)then this movie is definitely not for you. Certainly, many people in my audience seemed to feel this way as quirky and absurd humor flew over their heads constantly and they didn't know what to make of the unexpected turns the film would throw at us. But the thing about an unusual flavor, though acquired it may be...if you try it with an open mind you may actually find it refreshing. Whether or not you like or even love that new flavor is another matter, but the fact that it doesn't taste just like everything else is a welcome change.
Based on a Fyodor Dostoevsky novella, The Double has a very darkly classic...yet as I mentioned surrealist feel to it. Jesse Eisenberg gives a fantastic performance (or is it performances?) as both the insecure Simon who can never catch a break and the confidently suave James. Amazingly so, they're both the type of characters that he excels at and the audience is able to get a glimpse at the layers underneath these men. I'd say that it's Eisenberg that carries the movie, as I'm still not entirely convinced of Mia Wasikowska's talents. There's always something about her that seems somewhat underwhelming to me, but I suppose she fares well enough here.
But besides Eisenberg's performance what does The Double have going for it? Well as I said, it's certainly stylish. And speaking of stylistic choices, I must warn you that the use of sound can at times assault your ears. I admired how it was used at times, but also wish in some moments it was toned down just a tad. I love the weird world that this film is set in....not quite modern and very bizarre. The computers look ancient and the television shows have that retro vision of the future type feel to them...yet somehow with other forms of technology, it seems pretty recent. Like many things in this film, it's useless trying to analyze or figure anything out. You kind of have to let it be and accept some of the mystery....some things won't make sense. This movie is hard to recommend to just anyone. I'm not sure myself if I would say I loved it...I found myself appreciating and liking how different it was. Again, if you're the type of person that can handle that or hate not being able to understand everything that's going on in a movie, then stay clear of The Double. However, if you're game in trying out this incredibly weird, artistic journey into the deep recesses of a man's soul, then by all means give it a try when it comes to a theater near you. EMILY RATING: 7.5/10