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The Double [Blu-ray]

3.0 out of 5 stars 101 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Simon is a timid man, scratching out an isolated existence in an indifferent world. He is overlooked at work, scorned by his mother, and ignored by the woman of his dreams. He feels powerless to change any of these things. The arrival of a new co-worker, James, serves to upset the balance. James is both Simon's exact physical double and his opposite - confident, charismatic and good with women. To Simon's horror, James slowly starts taking over his life.

Product Details

  • Actors: Jesse Eisenberg, Mia Wasikowska
  • Directors: Richard Ayoade
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Blu-ray, AC-3, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: French, Spanish
  • Region: Region A/1 (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    R
    Restricted
  • Studio: Magnolia Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: August 26, 2014
  • Run Time: 93 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (101 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00KGA89ZM
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #69,996 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Amazon Video Verified Purchase
A comic suspense film inspired by an early novella by Fyodor Dostoyevsky, The Double is set in a claustrophobic and grim world of imprisoning cubicles, shadow-veiled pathways, and apartment buildings as imposing as they are cold and generic: an inhospitable environment in which the human condition is most unwelcome. It is never specified whether this is the near or distant future or even a type of alternate past, but it is not hard to spot the films from which aural and/or visual inspiration is drawn, including Brazil, The Element of Crime, Eraserhead, and Modern Times. This, however, is not a simple game of cataloging allusions and identifying references for an hour and a half. The Double is a grand entertainment with imagination, rage, romance, wit, and a well-conjured, rather literary atmosphere of bureaucratic menace.

The plot turns on Simon James, a woeful introvert who lives alone and is only barely recognized by his colleagues after seven years of employment. He pines for and spies on one of them, Hannah, but his shy nature restrains him from even trying to establish a deeper relationship. His uneventful life is upended when he encounters James Simon, his doppelgänger, an exact physical replica who is no other way resembles Simon himself. James is charming, outgoing, self-indulgent, sly, and prone to womanizing. At first, the two share a certain truce, with Simon helping James excel on a professional level in return for a personal education in confidence and flirtation, but their coexistence grows unstable as James advances. He begins to lord over and abuse Simon before threatening to erase his existence altogether.

Star Jesse Eisenberg has never scored a more rewarding or suitable part than the dual roles of Simon James and James Simon.
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Format: Amazon Video
Simon James (Jesse Eisenberg) is a rather pathetic introvert. He is "lonely, lost, and invisible" living in a fictional society that could pass for a set on "Eraser Head." Hanna (Mia Wasikowska) works at the same place as Simon and has similar issues of identity. Then along comes James Simon, an individual who looks identical to Simon James except he has personality. He pole vaults to the top of the corporation without knowing what they do.

The film is clearly symbolic and metaphorical, but of what, I am uncertain. One line from the film "giving faceless people immortality" almost seems like a reference to Internet social media such as Facebook. The film is based on a Russian novella by the same name. I have stopped reading Russian novels because there is so much packed into them, they make my head explode.

The novella itself doesn't offer an explanation, although three have been offered by critics:

1) Main character is insane

2) Author is insane

3)'The human will in its search for total freedom of expression becomes a self-destructive impulse.’"

The film was well done as it captured a mood and allowed the viewer to assign their own significance to it. However, this is clearly not a film for everyone. Those who don't like films with massive amounts of symbolism to the point the linear plot doesn't make any sense, need to avoid this one. Dostoyevsky fans are welcomed.

Parental Guide: F-bomb. No sex ot nudity
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Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
I've now seen two films by the talented Ayodade – the other being his coming of age 'Submarine" - and had a very similar reaction though they are miles apart in style, story and theme.

First, this is a gifted film-maker, who doesn't want to play by the usual rules. Next, he knows how to get off to a great start, build a fascinating world, get you involved with his people, but third, he doesn't quite find ways to make his third acts pay off as interestingly (or powerfully or emotionally) as the first two-thirds of the film promise. In both films the focus drifts to less interesting elements or variations on the stories he's telling.

And last, he needs to lighten up on the too-obvious 'homage's to his cinematic touchstones. In "Submarine" it was (among others) Wes Anderson and "Rushmore". Here the overbearing influences (there are many) are led by Terry Gilliam's "Brazil". There were a large number of design and character choices – while effective - that came close enough that I couldn't help but sit there making comparisons ('Hey, there's Wallace Shawn doing Ian Holm'). And it starts to approach that fine line between inspiration and plagiarism.

That said, there's a lot to like here. The photography is often gorgeous. Jessie Eisenberg does a terrific job in a tough double role – a meek office worker who is suddenly faced with another employee who looks exactly like him. But the new guy has a brash, self-confident personality, everyone loves him, and no one else seems to notice the two are physically exactly alike, right down to their clothes.

This raises interesting questions about personality, perception and reality. Is "James Simon" (the cool one) merely a psychological projection of the nerd, "Simon James"?
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