i love love love movies about dopplegangers. although i did for a while get this confused with the movie with jake gyllenhall for a while, the tone of this film is very dark and funny. love the it crowd cameos!
A cold & uninviting world. That's what he was going for, but I didn't want to spend time there. Eraserhead, Punch-Drunk Love, Brasil, Fight Club came to mind while watching this, but not in a good way. Godard said "It’s not where you take things from - it’s where you take them to", & Ayoade didn't take his influences far enough away.Also I was bored. The next gen of film watchers might see this & think it's original.
This is like being inside Ayoade's awkward nightmare: the claustrophobic gloom makes you want to wake up as soon as possible, but somehow the aesthetics and familiar faces keep you comfortable enough to keep dreaming it.
Some directors are easier to admire than to like, and Richard Ayoade is kind of the opposite. I dig his comic timing and his cinephilia (Welles, Gilliam, and Scorsese are the touchstones here), and his direction is getting more expressive and elaborate (sophisticated?). But there's an inescapable thinness as well...time will tell if he has a great movie in him, or just likable pastiches. I'm rooting for the former.
The first moments of the film are truly captivating. Instead of an opressive atmosphere, or a heavy bureaucratic aparatus, the focus is on an intimate awkwardness. We are brought close to the lead character in close-ups and profile tracking shots, and tension is created, even when some weird almost Brazil-like humour is sugested. This is a post-Fight Club film. And a good one. Dystopian, kafkian. Give us more Ayoade.
Not content to be a single double, Ayoade's adaptation of Dostoevsky is several, palely shadowing not only its original but also Gilliam, Kafka, Orwell, and even the Brothers Quay. It's frustrating to see this much style go to waste, but it's best not to kid oneself about it.
The impassiveness and loneliness of Kafka and his protagonists updated for those familiar with the confrontation and dualism of "Fight Club". But without the dark edge of Kafka or Gilliam's "Brazil", the drabness and ineptitude of the world in the film is almost nostalgic; I can't help feeling Ayoade is longing for a chance for our real, shiny corporate world to approach this one's simplicity.
Camera work, dialogue, high contrast lighting and overall visual aesthetic feels like a big budget student film and quickly becomes tiresome with its obvious & heavy-handed dystopian retro chic straight out of Brazil (a 40s via 80s via 2010s). Film’s sole pleasure is its showcase of Eisenberg’s split acting personalities – the neurotic, shy, sensitive, & awkward versus the egotistical, aggressive, voluble, & smarmy