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Movie review: Dark atmosphere masks a lack of substance in 'The Double'

Published June 20, 2014 2:50 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

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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'The Double'

Opens Friday, June 20, at the Tower Theatre; rated R for language; 93 minutes.