Richard Ayoade’s second film and follow up to 2010’s critically acclaimed Submarine is The Double, a dark comedy based on Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s satirical novella of the same name. Set in a subterranean hinterland of unknowable time and location, the film follows the life of lonely, ignored and unseen data imputer Simon James (Jesse Eisenberg). Simon floats through life unnoticed by those around him, stating that he feels as though people could almost reach through him as though he wasn’t there. When a new co-worker is introduced, Simon is shocked to discover that he looks and sounds exactly like himself. His doppelgänger though is everything he is not; cocky, outgoing and highly visible.
The Double could easily have been a film that was known for its story. Based on the work of one of the literary greats of the nineteenth century, the film has the narrative already safely mapped out and it indeed delivers an interesting and complex story. In the hands of Ayoade though, this film will be remembered for more; chiefly its design and sound. Richard Ayoade has constructed a magnificent film that evokes so much but remains unique. It’s beautiful and funny, grim and depressing all in equal measure.