In the last few weeks we've had a procession of bonkers films with baffling plots. Terry Gilliam's "Zero Theorem" and the Scarlett Johansson's "Under the
Skin" are two that spring to mind. Well add "The Double" to that list.
"Submarine" director Richard Ayoade's second film stars Jesse Eisenberg ("Now You See Me"). Eisenberg plays Simon James a socially awkward meek office
worker who is so unremarkable that even his co-workers and mother have trouble remembering or recognising him. The only light in his life is watching his
favourite TV show about a space cop called Jack (Paddy Considine) and spying on his neighbour and co-worker Hannah (Mia Wasikowska).
Simon goes to work one morning only to discover that he has been replaced by a doppelgänger called James Simon. James is an exact physical copy of Simon,
even down to his clothing. However James is everything that Simon is not. He's charismatic and is able to charm not only his co-workers but also every
woman that he meets.
The strange thing is, other than Simon, everyone else is oblivious or unperturbed by the startling likeness. James then encourages Simon in his pursuit of
Hannah but inevitably James comes between them leading to an air of confrontation and mistrust.
To say that "The Double" is bizarre is not an exaggeration. It's also confusing making it difficult to know exactly what's going on. Unfortunately a
confusing film more than often leads to a confused audience and I would imagine that's going to be how most people feel after seeing "The Double".
There's obviously an audience for Ayoade's work but mainstream cinema it most certainly is not.