The Double & The Zero Theorem – Reviewed

Time to wheel out this year’s iteration of the LUC Anticipation-ometer and see whether the films of 2014 that I got all hot and bothered about previously are worth the bother.

Due to the hectic, recent LUC schedule, cinema visits have been at a premium of late. However a key delegation managed two consecutive Wednesday visits over to snug film womb, The Electric Cinema of Birmingham, to check out these two potentially similar, but equally intriguing movies.

First up was The Double, Richard Ayoade’s adaptation of a Dostoyevsky novella that, let’s be honest, none of us have read. This film has had a while bunch of fairly lukewarm reviews, claiming that it owes too much to Terry Gilliam visually and David Lynch sonically. Well, so what? If you are going to pick some influences you might as well pick decent examples. Anyhow, I’m not sure that such comparisons are entirely fair, The Double has a unique, unsettling and entirely appropriate atmosphere – which to my pretentious eye seemed to have most in common with Orson Welles brilliant version of The Trial.

Layered on top of this atmospheric canvas is the sinister tale of a put upon and deeply anxious man haunted by the sudden appearance of his confident, scheming doppelganger. Jesse Eisenberg is fantastic as the two leads, like Jeremy Irons in Dead Ringers but with less terrifying gynaecology. There are a whole bunch of other brilliant actors in it, but I am far too lazy to get into details, apart from pointing out that Chris Morris gets a go at one point. Despite the overall darkness of the plot and atmosphere, The Double is shot through with genuine wit and comedy which fit well with the death and suicide obsessed plot, rather than clashing awkwardly. Also the soundtrack is just fantastic.

In conclusion this is a film that looks and sounds great, weaves an intriguing tale using style and wit, while making great use of some brilliant performances. If I could have re-wound it and watched it again straight away I would have – but we had to go to a Chinese buffet and absolutely nothing needs to be re-wound any more.

You have my permission to punch any beard-stroking hipsters who loftily castigate this movie for leaning towards Brazil or Eraserhead. The Double is a brilliant film in its own right, anyone that tells you otherwise is a total fucking idiot (which in another universe is what Jerry Sadowitz’s film of another Dostoyevsky story is called).

So, onto The Zero Theorem….

The first ten minutes are marvellous. The pretzels at The Electric were great.

Lets leave it at that.

The current state of the LUC Anticipation-ometer 2014:

anticipation 2014 2 films


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