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After his sweetly intriguing and surreal feature film debut, Richard Ayoade (known to many for playing the character Moss in UK sitcom "The IT Crowd") returns with a striking adaptation of Dostoevsky’s novel. Ayoade channels the spirit of the likes of Terry Gilliam to create an existentialist examination of the nature of being all drenched in the trappings of neo-noir.

The film stars Jesse Eisenberg as Simon, a shy man hopelessly in love with work colleague Hannah but unable to do anything about it. Enter another man - the exact duplicate of Simon but possessing the skill and grace to move up the career ladder and attract the affections of Hannah. Soon Simon begins to go mad as his doppelganger takes everything that is dear to him. Changing the original Russian setting to a 1950s tinged America the film is a visual delight that manages to be both nightmarishly drab yet endlessly fascinating. This is a world of bureaucracy, never ending office space and darkness. But, while the film can often be dark and foreboding, there’s also a sense of humanity and hope as Eisenberg proves an engaging lead (twice over) while Mia Wasikowska is equally charming and beguiling as love interest Hannah.

Much like Estonian film "The Idiot", this is a clever take on the work of Dostoevsky that takes some of his essential themes and transposes them to a world which is disturbing and engrossing in equal measure.

/Laurence Boyce / POFF/

UK 2013