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James (Jesse Eisenberg) is a nobody. Despite the fact that he is a very effective employee with great ideas, he can’t get his boss to listen to him, nor can he get the security guy at his office’s front desk to acknowledge that he’s seen James everyday for seven years. In his personal life, he can’t manage to ask out the girl he likes (Mia Wasikowska), instead watching her in her apartment (across from his own) obsessing over her every move. A new employee, Simon (Jesse Eisenberg), who looks exactly like James, appears at work. Simon’s natural charisma quickly takes over the office, while James continues to fall further and further into obscurity.

The follow up to his wildly successful indie Submarine, Richard Ayoade is back with The Double – a film that takes Dostoyevsky, wraps him in a Kafka and places the characters in a Terry Gilliam’s Brazil-like world.

Unlike the average dystopian surrealist film, The Double doesn’t engage in highly confusing narrative ploys designed to make you feel like you’re probably not smart enough to watch this movie. Instead it takes its time, develops the relationships between Eisenberg’s Simon and James, making the progression of James’ quiet descent into oblivion all the more interesting.

Choosing an aesthetic that looks old and clunky and mixing it with age-old issues of identity and insignificance, the production design elegantly captures the true meaning of the film to make it unbelievably modern and relevant at the same time. Despite the fact that there are no touch screens anywhere, viewers will feel right at home in this archaic environment, creating an unsettling sense of alienation.

Is The Double essential TIFF viewing?

The Double is a great movie and an un-missable TIFF film. Yes, this is definitely essential TIFF viewing.

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