Simon James (Jesse Eisenberg) is a non-descript office worker who goes about his business in an office full of cubicles where the only time he is noticed is when someone has a gripe at him. Not even Hannah (Mia Wasikowska) who he has a crush on and who he watches through his telescope at night barely notices him. Simon's home life is no better as he pays for his mother's care, a mother who thinks he has never amounted to anything. But things change when James Simon (Jesse Eisenberg) comes to work at the office as he is Simon's physical double but whilst you could say that Simon has no personality James has an abundance of it and everyone notices him including Hannah. Despite befriending Simon, James ends up over stepping the mark when it comes to Hannah which is when things take a turn for the sinister.
As an actor I am not a fan of Richard Ayoade, I actually question whether he ever acts and is just being himself in everything he appears in, but so far I like his work as a director having watched "Submarine" and now having watched "The Double". In fact "The Double" is surprisingly impressive with a fantastic look with an abundance of detail; from the brass dial on a copier to the art deco lines on the side of a big waste bin it is strangely beautiful. And it is entertainingly quirky from the office cubes where Simon works to the glow and smoke billowing in the sky at the end of an underpass.
But here is the thing about "The Double" and that is whilst I love the detail which Ayoade puts in to the movies look when it comes to what goes one I am not so hooked. Now in fairness when I hear the name Dostoevsky I kind of switch off because I once found myself trying to escape a group of people discussing Dostoevsky and throwing a lot of pretentious terms around in what almost seemed a competition as to who could sound more ridiculous. And sadly whilst "The Double" is watchable as a piece of entertainment I have a strong feeling that to appreciate this movie you need to have read Dostoevsky's novella beforehand. I say this because Ayoade seems to fill the movie with little elements such as mirror images and clever word play which I am sure has a meaning for those in the know.
Aside from that well like with Ayoade's direction the acting is attention grabbing because each of the actors gives their characters little mannerisms, repeated looks which make them attention grabbing when combined with that visual style. As such whilst Jesse Eisenberg is at times an acquired taste his performance in two roles here is pretty entertaining as is Mia Wasikowska who at times seemed to have a touch of the Audrey Tautou about her.
What this all boils down to is that "The Double" is for me an experience movie; a movie full of details and a certain style which will grab your attention. But it isn't the sort of movie which I feel any sort of burning desire to watch again although may be that could change if I ever got around to reading some Dostoevsky.