The Double (2013) - Richard Ayoade
Loosely based off a Dostoevsky novel, Richard Ayoade's The Double tells the story of Simon, a timid financial analyst, who lives in a bleak, dystopian future where he goes completely unnoticed by everyone around him including his boss, his mother, and the girl of his dreams. One day James appears, an exact double of Simon physically but far better at everything in life, being confident, assertive and charming. At first Simon and James get along but soon after Simon begins to see his own life fall even further apart with James taking his job and his girl. Richard Ayoade's The Double is a beautifully-realized oddity that is sure to make fan's of Gilliam and Lynch giddy. Using a dark, sepia-toned palette, expressionistic lighting, and impressive sound design, Ayoade has crafted a unique dystopia world that is stylized and engaging. The film has many influences from Welles' The Trial to Gilliam's Brazil, bringing nothing particularly new to the table, yet Ayoade's darkly comic energy that he injects throughout the film is what makes it all worth seeing. The Double is an interesting watch full of fragmented ideas but unfortunately it doesn't seem to have much to say, drowning in a sea of style. It seems to be a commentary on our ever-growing reliance on technology and the dehumanizing effect it has, but it never fully succeeds at getting its point across, almost content on being enigmatic and directionless. The Double is yet another film by Richard Ayoade that can't quite hold up to its ambition, though given Ayoade's unique vision, I firmly believe it's only a matter of time until he hits one out of the park.
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