A faceless bureaucrat (Jesse Eisenberg) and his suave doppelgänger (Jesse Eisenberg) compete for Mia Wasikowska’s attention in Richard Ayoade’s stylish, retro-future take on Dostoevsky.
Screened as part of NZIFF 2014
“Deadpan Richard Ayoade’s follow-up to the terrifically spiky teen black comedy Submarine is a Dostoevsky-inspired tale of a nerdy office clerk, Simon James (Jesse Eisenberg), whose life is overturned by the appearance of a gregarious doppelgänger, James Simon (Eisenberg again, obviously). Horrified that no one else even notices this inexplicable doubling, Simon finds his already questionable identity being eaten away by his own worst enemy: himself – or rather, a mirror image of himself, possessing all the confidence, charisma and charm that he so sorely lacks. A dab hand at dramatising absurdist paranoia, Ayoade fills the future-retro landscape with sounds and visions lifted from Terry Gilliam’s Brazil and David Lynch’s Eraserhead… Eisenberg does sterling work as the central split personality, conjuring two distinct characters who play off each other with well choreographed ease… Sally Hawkins, James Fox and a splendidly insufferable Chris Morris add richness and spice.” — Mark Kermode, The Observer.
“Ayoade creates a uniquely stylized dystopia, lit in dusty tones of olive and ochre and scored, mysteriously but somehow perfectly, to vintage Japanese pop.” — Dana Steves, Slate
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