I went to the Phoenix yesterday, courtesy of Steve, to see a film called ‘The Double’. I was instantly hooked – this is a Kafka-esque film about a lowly clerk working in a strange incomprehensible firm, headed by a mysterious character called ‘the Colonel’ whose resemblance to the KFC Colonel cannot be coincidental. Everyone ignores him or bullies him; accidents happen to him all the time; he has no self-esteem at all and he cannot make his voice heard. There’s a woman he likes but though he has some chances he fails to make a connection with her in spite of being sympathetic and sensitive and painstakingly reconstructing all the pictures she makes. Simon’s life is miserable enough, but when James, his exact physical double, comes to work at the firm it gets a whole lot worse. James is over-confident, unprincipled and mean, and ends up taking over Simon’s whole life. The ending is a bit depressing as the protagonist ends up jumping from a balcony and killing himself, so I could have done without the last half-hour – but still, it was well worth seeing.
The society Simon inhabits is very like that of Kafka – it’s bureaucratic and unfeeling. There’s also something strange and off-centre about the perspective: people loom, machinery is somehow too big and the mechanical world dwarfs the human.
The cast is quite varied: there are American, British, Australian and Irish actors. It stars Jessie Eisenberg in a role that couldn’t be more different from Mark Zuckerberg in’The Social Network’. James Fox is the mysterious Colonel.
Take a look: