The Double (2013)

(On Cable TV, January 2015)  I don’t have a lot of patience for ambiguity these days, so when I have to confront a film like The Double, which deals in fantasies and metaphors and unanswered questions, my first tendency is to retreat to the surface level and stop digging.  Jesse Eisenberg stars as a corporate office drone who comes to confront a doppelganger who’s far more charismatic than he is.  Slowly, the double takes over his life, steals his girlfriend, makes inroad at the office and dominates his thoughts.  Shot as it if was set somewhere behind the Iron Curtain in the mid-seventies, The Double is thankfully replete with humor and ironies –if nothing else, that aspect of the film works without too much trouble.  Seeing Eisenberg play both the beta and the alpha is a good use of his developing screen persona – his first few roles were nebbishly undistinguishable from Michael Cera, but his post The Social Network career so far has fully embraced alpha-nerddom.  Writer/director Richard Ayoade manages a few entertaining moments before the film sinks into a closing act of mounting ambiguity and oh-so-profound symbolism.  It’s those moments that save The Double from terminal self-absorption.  See the film in a double-feature with Enemy for more doppelgänger madness.

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