Tuesday, 15 October 2013

BFI London Film Festival - The Double

The day has come! The festival is here! Film Forever!

The BFI London Film Festival kicked off Wednesday just gone and is on until 20th October. Two weeks of films from around the world, premieres and events. Each year I get very excited and book tickets for varied screenings. Last year was my record number of screenings I attended, so much fun.

This year I managed to get (afford) a select few screenings. I was hoping for a Coen Brothers event of some sort as their new film is premiering in London on Tuesday. Alas no event, but I did get a near front row seat to the film, but more on that later.

Today was the comfortable Sunday morning film, The Double, the second feature from Richard Ayoade. Submarine was the director's 2010 debut feature film and anyone who is a fan of Submarine will notice some familiar faces in The Double. Both Ayoade and lead actor(s) Jesse Eisenberg came along to introduce the film in an amusing fashion. They talked mostly about the fact that the film was 85 mins long but felt longer. I can assure you that you do not notice the time when watching this film.

The Double is based on the novella of the same name by Fyodor Dostoyevsky and tells the story of a man who's doppelganger appears and slowly ruins his life.

Set in a unknown city that seems reminiscent of the landscapes or buildings found in Brazil. The dank, dark buildings, the yellowing office walls, the plain colourless clothes and there is barely, if any sunshine seen throughout the whole film. Described by one reviewer as a 'warped, alternative version of post-war America' although most of the supporting cast is British. That doesn't matter in the grand scheme of the slightly dystopian feel to the old damaged exteriors and interiors. 

Simon James (Eisenberg) is an ordinary guy who works for an organisation that doesn't really specify in any industry, all we as the audience know is that the Colonel (James Fox) is the face and all knowing leader. Simon is a person that most forget, talk over, push around and generally are rude to him, no matter where he is. Things start to change when James Simon, the exact double of Simon James appears. He is charismatic and at first exciting but things go wrong when he makes Simon's life a misery. He gets him in to trouble at work, he steals Hannah, (Mia Wasikowska) the girl that Simon is in love with and takes over his home. Drastic times call for drastic measures.

Apart from the fact this is a brilliant story with an excellent cast, right down to Paddy Considine's amusing cameo, I was enthralled by the photography and the unusual but mesmerising design of the film.  I definitely fell in love with the design. The 50s and 60s style clothing blended with the 80s style technology mixed with a kitsch decorator, especially for the restaurant and ball scenes. Everything was fine tuned down to the creases in Simon/James obviously-too-big-for-him suit.

A fantastic film that, in my opinion, didn't need to spend time explaining the strange occurrences that happened in the film, the mystery of the double makes it stand out from other mystery stories or any film, involving a double.


  1. Ooooh sounds good. Definitely want to see this when it comes out x

    1. if you loved Submarine then you'll love this, its just so aesthetically cool! x