The Double

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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.

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