There are two very different movies coming out this year with a very similar premise. That odd coincidence is even more striking when you consider what that premise is: doubles.
In The Double, Jesse Eisenberg’s life is turned upside-down when he discovers another person that looks and sounds exactly like himself. Directed by Richard Ayoade (Submarine), adapted from the Fyodor Dostoevsky novella of the same name.
In Enemy, Jake Gyllenhaal’s life is turned upside-down when he discovers another person that looks and sounds exactly like himself. Directed by Denis Villeneuve (Prisoners), adapted from the José Saramago novel “The Double.”
Sound similar? Both feature a young male movie star in a dual role. Both are directed by an indie filmmaker known for dark and stylized (though decidedly different) visions. And both are based on source material called “The Double.” I can’t find (with a 3-minute Google search) any evidence that Saramago’s book was based on Dostoevsky, though I find it hard to imagine there wasn’t at least some direct inspiration involved.
Either way, the films appear to be doubles of each other, in a way. Talk about “meta!” Check out the trailers back to back…
The Double (2014)
(Enemy has actually already screened for some critics. Check out Guy Lodge’s review here.)
These are not to be confused with the 2011 films The Double or The Devil’s Double. Of course, it’s not all that surprising anymore to see two very similar movies released back to back. Here are just a few others that seemed to hit upon some unspoken zeitgeist at the same time:
- Capote and Infamous (2005) – Biopics of Truman Capote, specifically the period in which he researches and writes the book “In Cold Blood”
- The Illusionist and The Prestige (2006) – 19th century magicians elude those who would unmask their secrets.
- Happy Feet (2006) and Surf’s Up (2007) – Unlikely outcasts compete for glory in skills that one wouldn’t normally associate with animated penguins.
- Another Earth and Melancholia (2011) – A woman’s life is forever altered when a new planet appears in the sky.
- Noah and Exodus (2014) – Big budget biblical epics with big name stars (Russell Crowe, Christian Bale), directed by big name auteurs (Darren Aronofsky, Ridley Scott). Maybe The Screen Life needs another post about this odd twofer in the future. Hmm…
I’m sure there are more examples. If you can think of them, let me know in the comments!