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The Double

Jesse Eisenberg finds his world turned upside down by the arrival of a confident and ambitious doppelganger in Richard Ayoade’s latest curiosity.

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  • Director Richard Ayoade
  • Producers Robin C Fox, Amin Dasmal
  • Screenwriters Richard Ayoade, Avi Korine
  • With Jesse Eisenberg, Mia Wasikowska, Wallace Shawn, Noah Taylor
  • UK 2013
  • 93 mins
  • UK distribution STUDIOCANAL

From innovative filmmaker Richard Ayoade comes this tale of Simon (Jesse Eisenberg), a browbeaten office clerk working in an ominous government organisation. With his colleagues failing to recognise him on a daily basis, Simon fills his empty days with dreams of colleague Hannah (Mia Wasikowska), but any encounter with her leaves him tongue-tied and mortified. Undermined and undervalued everywhere he turns, it seems that his directionless life couldn’t get any worse, until one day his exact double gets a job at his company. As his confident and ambitious doppelganger climbs the corporate ladder, attracting the attention of Hannah on his way, our hero sinks further into mediocrity, and possibly even madness. Transposing the action from 19th century Russia to a surrealist modern-day America, this quirky adaptation of Fyodor Dostoevsky’s celebrated novella is a distinctly contemporary update of a literary classic. As with his acclaimed debut Submarine, Ayoade’s idiosyncratic visual approach comes laced with a dry wit that perfectly compliments the inner dysfunctions of his characters. But for all its irony and self-awareness, The Double has a surprisingly gentle heart, with a central love story that is just about as sweet as they come. In a peculiar sort of way.

Michael Blyth

Director biography

Richard Ayoade is a Perrier Award-winning writer and director. In 2004 Ayoade co-created and directed Channel 4’s spoof horror comedy series Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace, in which he also appeared. This was followed with a sequel series Man to Man with Dean Lerner which Richard directed and co-wrote, and was broadcast on primetime Channel 4. He has performed in The Mighty Boosh (as well as script editing) and the Emmy Award-winning The IT Crowd. After signing up with Warp Films to direct promos, Ayoade has made music videos for The Arctic Monkeys, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Super Furry Animals, Kasabian, The Last Shadow Puppets and Vampire Weekend. He also directed the feature-length concert film of the Arctic Monkeys at the Apollo, which was released in 2008. Ayoade’s directorial debut came in 2010 with the critically acclaimed and award-winning Submarine.

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