Double, The (Blu-ray) (2013)

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Released 10-Sep-2014

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Black Comedy Featurette-Making Of
Deleted Scenes
Deleted Scenes-Extended Scenes
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2013
Running Time 94:00
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Richard Ayoade
Fyodor Dostoevsky
Richard Ayoade
Avi Korine
Studio
Distributor

Madman Entertainment
Starring None Given
Case Standard Blu-ray
RPI ? Music None Given


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English DTS HD Master Audio 5.1
English Linear PCM 48/24 2.0
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 1080p
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles Dutch for the Hearing Impaired Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

British director Richard Ayoade's second feature, after Submarine, confirms his status as a talented film director who likes his comedy to be as dark as possible.

The Double is an adaptation of sorts of the Dostoevsky novella of the same name. Simon James (Jesse Eisenberg) is a lowly clerk working in a dead-end job in a depressing office. No one seems to know who he is despite the fact that he has worked in the same position for seven years. Painfully shy, Simon is unable to pluck up the courage to even talk to a fellow office worker Hannah (Mia Wasikowska). Instead he spies on her by telescope from his apartment.

The Double is set in an unknown place at an unnamed time. It is reminiscent of the film Brazil in the depiction of a massive heartless bureaucracy where none of the rules make any sense yet everyone follows them blind faith. There is also a strong undercurrent of David Lynch in the bizarre environments and circumstances.

Simon, who sees himself as a ghost, would have disappeared into the wallpaper were it not for the appearance of James Simon, also played by Eisenberg, a confident version of himself. Immediately upon arriving at the office James is lauded as a go-getter by their boss Mister Papadopoulos (Wallace Shawn). Hannah likes Simon but she asks him to set her up on a date with James.

Unsurprisingly, the little confidence that Simon had is washed away when he realises that he is now even more invisible. James steals his girlfriend and his ideas for improvement in the business practices of the company. Will he take it lying down or find the nerve to fight back?

The Double is a remarkably complete vision. The austere,depressing world in which Simon barely exists is a nightmarish vision of bureaucracy set in stone. The equipment with which he works is old and his co-workers are mostly past retirement age. The business is presided over by the Colonel (Edward Fox) with his white military clothes and abundance of medals.

It is funny in a darkly humorous way. There is a running joke that Simon is so unmemorable that each day when he arrives at work security will not let him in without filling in various forms as he is unknown to them.

That concentrated vision means that the film will polarise many viewers. Eisenberg is perfect for the role of the put upon Simon and also the slightly unhinged and dangerous James. Ayoade has used a myriad of cast members from Submarine-Perhaps he is developing an ensemble.

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Transfer Quality

Video

The Double was shot on film rather than digital. It has been transferred to Blu-ray at a 1.85:1 aspect ratio, consistent with the original cinema ratio.

The film perfectly represents a lifeless working and home environment. The colours range from hospital green to dull browns and yellows. Of course, all this is intentional to represent this extremely drab environment. The colours are well handled.

The image quality is sharp throughout. The flesh tones are accurate. There are subtitles in English for the hearing impaired.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

The Double contains a DTS HD Master Audio 5.1 track as well as an LPCM 2.0 track. Both are good quality audio experiences.

The sound design for the film is quite detailed. There are key moments of pure silence as well as lengthy sections with singular disturbing sounds such as groaning pipes and ticking clocks. If anything it resembles Eraserhead in the sense that the world around the characters is writhing in pain.

The dialogue can be heard clearly throughout.

The soundtrack is by Andrew Hewitt who uses a deconstruction of Franz Schubert's song Der Doppelgänger to dramatic as well as symbolic effect. The other music choices are equally bizarre. A work ball has a performance by Danny and the Islanders, a Finnish band from the 60s and there are other pieces of strange cross cultural crooning again to confuse viewers as to the era of the film.

The sound quality is good throughout.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

There are three key extras on the Blu-ray.

Making of (13.02)

This is a series of interviews with key cast and crew as they talk about the origin of the film and the process of making it.

Extended Scenes (5.46)

This could easily be called a tribute to The Replicator, a bizarre science-fiction TV show watched by people in the film. The zero production value science-fiction show features Paddy Considine as a futuristic tough guy. There is also an extended scene featuring The Colonel.

Deleted Scenes (9.26)

There are three deleted scenes on offer. Most will agree these were wisely left out of the film. One is of Simon trying to use a coffee machine at the office which turns out to be a nightmarish task.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

  

It is interesting to see what extras are included when a Blu-ray is released in this region and those in others. The region A Blu-ray has a completely different set of extras although I suspect that some of the material from the making of featurette would have been culled from this material.

Buy local.

Summary

   

The Double is a darkly funny experience featuring a perfect performance by Jesse Eisenberg both as the office worker crippled by shyness and his extrovert double. The Blu-ray is of good quality in sound and vision terms and there are some brief yet interesting extras.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Trevor Darge (read my bio)
Tuesday, November 18, 2014
Review Equipment
DVDCambridge 650BD (All Regions), using HDMI output
DisplaySony VPL-VW80 Projector on 110" Screen. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationPioneer SC-LX 81 7.1
SpeakersAaron ATS-5 7.1

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