The Double ★★★

I love Dostoevsky (whose novella the movie is based on). I love Kafka (whose work, Josh Larsen correctly noted, the movie is reminiscent of). And I love everything about Richard Ayoade's visual scheme (which, although there's plenty of dialogue, does all of the heavy lifting in terms of conveying psychology, mood and emotion). There's a great early shot from the POV of the suicide victim on the gurney 'looking back' at a disturbed Jesse Eisenberg as the ambulance drives away, at once aligning Eisenberg with the obsessed stranger, while also placing the viewer in that unfortunate position; Ayoade could be Wes Anderson's equally precise and calculating/darker and more depressed doppelganger.

So why didn't I love this movie more? Not a rhetorical question, an actual one — one I suppose I'm obligated to endeavor an answer to. For now, all I've got is that perhaps watching it on my laptop on a plane didn't help. Or that I can't shake the feeling that it was more of a provocation than actually provocative. Very different films to be sure, but considering my appreciation for the far more solemn, serious and arguably rug-pulling (some would say straight-up pretentious) ENEMY, something for future exploration...

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