Richard Ayoade’s feature film debut Submarine (2010) was a playful tale of adolescent and adult obsession, evoking a peculiarly French tradition (just look at the director’s Top 10 Criterion Collection to see what I mean). Ayoade’s new film, The Double, takes its premise this time around from the Russian master himself, Dostoyevsky. Like any good filmmaker, Ayoade seems content to see imitation as the finest form of flattery, whilst excelling at adapting his influences in bold and exciting ways.
The Double stars Jesse Eisenberg, he of The Social Network and McSweeney’s column fame, as a man who slowly loses his sanity following the arrival of a suave, more confident doppelganger who gradually takes over his life. In the folkloric tradition, this appearance would be a portent of death. Spooky. This trailer certainly has some chilling moments, especially the doppelganger’s goofy, smarmy grinning, as well as montages of mannequin-esque people staring as the camera hurries past. Yet it seems that the film fits more into the realm of the absurd than the scary, with minimalist production design and emphasis on stage lighting effects, creating an intense character study instead of an overt psychological spectacle.
This looks promising, though possibly off-putting to a few. My own doppelganger found the trailer dull, while I for one am excited to see Ayoade’s take on this classic tale. (By the way, I have a twin, not an evil double…at least, as far as I’m aware).
One more thing half-related to this trailer – The IT Crowd is back on our screens soon for a very special ‘special’ episode. More Moss is always a good thing!