Movie review: Dark atmosphere masks a lack of substance in ‘The Double’
Published: June 20, 2014 02:50PM
Updated: June 20, 2014 05:14PM
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Jesse Eisenberg (right) and Mia Wasikowska star in "The Double." Courtesy Magnolia Films

Though it’s based on a Fyodor Dostoyevsky novella, director Richard Ayoade’s “The Double” comes off as an unpleasantly grim mix of Franz Kafka and Terry Gilliam.

Jesse Eisenberg takes double duty as two employees at an oppressively bleak company: Simon James, a cubicle drone nervous to make waves, and James Simon, a new arrival who instantly charms the boss (Wallace Shawn) and starts making moves on Hannah (Mia Wasikowska), the pretty co-worker for whom Simon James has been pining.

Ayoade, who directed the coming-of-age tale “Submarine” and is better-known as a TV comic (starring on “The IT Crowd”), and co-writer Avi Korine saturate the story with dark surface details that highlight Simon’s spiraling madness. But with a minimal plot and one-dimensional characters, there’s not much substance behind the surplus of style.

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HH

‘The Double’

Opens today at the Tower Theatre; rated R for language; 93 minutes.