The Double

October 2, 2014


It has become a law of nature to follow Jesse Eisenberg’s projects. And The Double simply confirms it. While the setting veers too much into Brazil dystopic hysteria, simply with a dash of Fight Club thrown into the bowl before all the ingredients are mixed, there still is an intricate blend at work here. For in both of the aforementioned films we do not see the inner turmoil of a frankly inferior creature, which is inferior simply because he goes beyond tolerating the bureaucratic machine that has its boot on his soul. He consents to it.


Every jab at the humanity of the character Mr. Eisenberg portrays by the quote system creates a flinch and a whimper, but then he moves on. That is until he witnesses the enactment of a deep fulfillment in his soul, which is an escape from the thing which keeps stomping on him. The moment he stares the truth of his desires in the mirror a schism occurs. There is how he lives and how he ought to live. And is that higher man, that dangerousness which he can be if he only had the courage to, righteous? The character begins to resent the success of his doppelganger the moment he encroaches on holy soil, which is whisking away his fantasy that fulfills itself in a girl in a tenement across the alleyway. Everything is fair until she becomes a target for a different kind of creature that takes whatever he wants.


And so we have again a paradox that emerges in Simon’s soul. He wants to be like that figure but he can’t. Is it a permanent disability, or simply a lack of practice? Or is it a misplaced morality? We return again to the judgment that a success in a bureaucratic machine which includes exclusively playing politics reduces the machine to an absurdity. Yet the reduction can only be made clear through its active, lively fulfillment in an antithesis to Simon’s consent to tyranny. So on the one hand he despises the machine and refuses to participate in its games, yet on the other hand he resents the dashing rogue that he could be if he wanted to.


So why then does he refuse to? Why does it lead to madness and a thirst for dying instead of living? We can conclude that it is the ideals of the morality of the character which he refuses to abandon. This is thoroughly noble. And it is poetic that madness is arrived at versus succumbing to the machine and it’s Colonel. On a more transcendent level then, the weakness of Simon is an illusion. It is simply a lack of participation in the corruption of the human soul. He is a spiritual figure overcoming the lifelessness of a machine that seeks only more work to be done. But for what purpose does the machine serve? More photocopies. He is the only alive one in a world of ghosts but he thinks it’s the exact opposite. He is a spiritual hero amidst spiritual emptiness.


Grade: A



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