Billed as a black comedy, The Double is more a poignant drama about isolationism, suicide and identity. Most interestingly it is, to me at least, a modern take on classic German expressionism in films. Yes, Jesse Eisenberg is very good here, his physicality giving his two roles clear distinctions and Mia Wasikowska is quirky without being annoying but the real star is director Richard Ayoade, surely an auteur in the making. From the visual style to sound design, everything is so precise. The world is an amalgamation of eras; everything looks 1950’s or earlier, with crude computers and a wonderfully cheesy sci-fi show backed by 70’s synthesisers (and a Paddy Considine cameo!) blended in.The apartments and offices look like underground WWII bunkers or prisons; bleak and claustrophobic. Similar to the way characters move, there is a strange rhythm to the score, which plays more like a soundscape than anything else – there is a regular, soft wailing sound underscoring scenes set in the apartment blocks, as if someone is injured and pitifully wailing for help in the distance.
I could really go on about all the little touches in this film but there are really so many it would take forever to list and be a discredit to a film you are best off seeing for yourself. Despite what listings tell you the genre is The Double can be uncomfortable viewing but, if you are interested in the art of cinema or Richard Ayoade‘s blossoming directorial career, you will find much to enjoy here.