The Double is an adaptation of Dostoyevsky’s novella of the same name. If you’re not familiar with it, think William Wilson by Edgar Allan Poe.
The cinematography and production design gives the film a weird dystopian look. The claustrophobic and color-coded world of Simon takes place in an industrial landscape of the ’60s. At the same time, the perpetually dimly lit scenes also tell you that this whole thing might as well be someone’s nightmare.
Jessie Eisenberg – the go-to nebbish character actor of Hollywood next to Micheal Cera – aces a niche role as Simon James. He also plays a convincing opposite of his character.
The Double’s imagery is interesting, but its forgettable characters are stuck in a one-note narrative, which turns Simon into a running joke to justify its running time. He can’t get the girl and remains invisible at his job. His doppelganger takes over his life and proves to be way better at it.
He never catches a break then the film takes a literal turn of events in an attempt to show the audience that it has an actual plot. The script slaps Fight Club’s ending over Dostoyevsky’s work with convoluted results.
Overall, The Double is more focused on referencing its influences (see Brazil, Eraserhead, and The Trial) rather than exploring its own themes.
The Double is a pastiche that successfully nails the style of its influences but delivers a lifeless comedy.