The Double (2013 film)  

From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia

Jump to: navigation, search

Related e



Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

The Double is a 2013 British black comedy film written and directed by Richard Ayoade and starring Jesse Eisenberg and Mia Wasikowska. The film is based on the novella The Double by Fyodor Dostoyevsky. It is about a man driven to breakdown when he is usurped by a doppelgänger. The film was produced by Alcove Entertainment, with Michael Caine, Graeme Cox (Attercop), Tessa Ross (Film4) and Nigel Williams as executive producers.



Downtrodden Simon James (Jesse Eisenberg) has worked at his office for seven years, but he is ignored by his boss and colleagues. From his apartment he spies on a beautiful coworker he admires, Hannah (Mia Wasikowska), who lives in the apartment opposite. He sees her throwing away art and secretly retrieves and admires it.

Simon sees a man jump to his death from the floor above Hannah's apartment. He talks to detectives, who explain that if the man had jumped a few feet to the right, he would have been badly hurt but would have survived.

Simon's boss (Wallace Shawn) announces the arrival of a new employee, James Simon (also played by Eisenberg), who looks identical to Simon, which causes Simon to faint upon first glance. Assertive and charming, James is Simon's polar opposite. Much to Simon's annoyance, James not only gets respect from their co-workers but no one seems to notice the striking resemblance between the two. James, on the other hand, does notice this and sees Simon's pain. Out of pity, he decides to buddy-up with Simon and give him advice about how to seduce Hannah. Hannah then asks him on a date through Simon. On the date, Simon pretends to be James, with the real James giving him instructions via earpiece. When Simon becomes nervous, the two swap places and James kisses Hannah, angering Simon. James asks Simon to take an aptitude test in his place and seduces their boss's surly, rebellious daughter, Melanie (Yasmin Paige), whom Simon was reluctantly hired to tutor.

Simon gets his revenge on James by revealing to Hannah that James is cheating on her with Melanie. Furious, James blackmails Simon for his apartment keys using explicit photos he took of himself with Melanie, knowing their boss will believe it is Simon in the photos. At work, Simon accuses James of being an imposter and is fired after going on a maniacal tirade. As he is about to kill himself, he sees Hannah lying unconscious in her apartment. He calls an ambulance and accompanies her to the hospital, where it's revealed that she not only overdosed but also miscarried (she had become pregnant after a sexual encounter with James). Simon then takes Hannah back home, relieved that she's alright. Still upset, she states that she wanted to die and suggest that Simon kill himself. She goes through Simon's jacket pockets and discovers her art.

Simon learns his mother has died and finds James at her funeral. Simon punches him and discovers that they share injuries; as James's nose bleeds, so does Simon's. He finds Hannah and tells her he wants to be noticed. He goes to his apartment and handcuffs the sleeping James to his bed, then goes to the ledge above Hannah's apartment, steps to the right, and jumps. He survives but is badly hurt. Hannah runs to him and an ambulance arrives. Lacking medical attention, the handcuffed James appears to be on the brink of death as he lies motionless on the apartment floor.

Within the ambulance The Colonel (James Fox) and Hannah watch over Simon. The Colonel tells Simon that he is "special", to which the latter responds with a half-smile, "I'd like to think I'm pretty unique".



The score by Andrew Hewitt features a recurring progression of heavy chords played by strings. The chord progression comes from the song "Der Doppelgänger" by Franz Schubert.


Critical response

The Double received positive reviews from critics and has a "Certified Fresh" rating of 82% on Rotten Tomatoes based on 114 reviews, with an average rating of 6.6 out of 10. The consensus states "Hauntingly bleak and thrillingly ambitious, The Double offers Jesse Eisenberg a pair of compelling roles while reaffirming writer-director Richard Ayoade's remarkable talent." The film also has a score of 68 out of 100 on Metacritic based on 31 critics, indicating "Generally favorable reviews".

Jon Espino from gave the film 9 out of 10 stars, stating:

Writer/Director Richard Ayoade had really outdone himself. The way he re-imagined and modernized Fyodor Dostoevsky's novella The Double, is a pure artistic vision. The dark tones are only enhanced by the light notes of humor throughout the film. Ayoade's avant garde, experimental style and minimalist set design sound like an odd couple, but they actually work great together.

He also goes on to praise Eisenberg's performance, saying:

In his best work since The Social Network, Eisenberg portrays the polarized personalities of Simon and James with such ease. The story basically rests on his shoulders as we follow him on his descent into madness. In between the fast-paced dialogue and front-lit shots there is also a very complex story that leaves the ending open to interpretation.

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "The Double (2013 film)" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

Personal tools