starring Jesse Eisenberg, Mia Wasikowska, Wallace Shawn, James Fox
screenplay by Richard Ayoade & Avi Korine, based on the novella by Fyodor Dostoevsky
directed by Richard Ayoade
COLD IN JULY
starring Michael C. Hall, Sam Shepard, Vinessa Shaw, Don Johnson
screenplay by Nick Damici & Jim Mickle, based on the novel by Joe R. Lansdale
directed by Jim Mickle
by Walter Chaw Writer-director Richard Ayoade's follow-up to his well-received feature debut Submarine, this loose interpretation of Dostoevsky's The Double plays rather like Kafka adapted by David Lynch, or Terry Gilliam at his most restrained. It's good. It doesn't plough new ground, necessarily, but its dedication to a theme and a very fine performance by Jesse Eisenberg as a man and his titular doppelgänger carry it over its rougher patches. Visually engaging with its washed-out, diseased, Cronenbergian/Lars von Trier colour palette and packed with innovative, maybe self-conscious camera flourishes and affectations, it all plays out a bit insular, a little too obvious given the entire history of the double in this kind of movie, but at least it's executed with a persistence of vision. What catches me up short about Ayoade's films, though, is that ineffable quality of audition reel. They're entirely identifiable by the breadth of their references: Submarine for its obvious connection to Harold and Maude (and why do I keep hearing "The Only Living Boy in New York" when it unspools?), now The Double with its portfolio of referents. If it happens to be assembled smartly, more's the frustration. I can't tell whether the movie is good because Ayoade's a gifted filmmaker or simply a great scrap-booker. I guess it doesn't really matter.