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HIC recommends: VIVARIUM and THE DOUBLE

The Double | 2013 | Richard Ayoade | UK | Cert 15 | 93 mins | English language

This week’s film was scheduled to be VIVARIUM, a psychological mystery from Lorcan Finnegan, which tells the story of a young couple who find themselves trapped in a strange neighbourhood of identical houses.

Tom and Gemma (Jesse Eisenberg and Imogen Poots) are looking for the perfect home. When a strange real-estate agent takes them to Yonder, a mysterious suburban neighborhood of identical houses, Tom and Gemma can’t leave quick enough. But when they try to exit the labyrinth-like housing development, each road takes them back to where they started. Soon, they realize their search for a dream home has plunged them into a terrifying nightmare, in this taut thriller filled with white-knuckle suspense.

Vivarium | 2019 | Lorcan Finnegan | Ireland / USA / Belgium / Denmark | Cert 15 | 98 mins | English language

The film was nominated for the Critic’s Week Grand Prize at Cannes and picked up a Best Actress Award for Imogen Poots at Sitges Catalonian International Film Festival. Critics have been divided, but the film’s high concept and the performances of the two leads have received widespread praise, while several critics have pointed out that a film about being trapped at home is particularly apposite right now!

The film is available on a wide range of digital platforms to rent or buy, including MUBI, Curzon Home Cinema, and BFIPlayer as well as the usual outlets such as You Tube, Amazon and Apple TV.

As as companion piece to VIVARIUM, this week we’re recommending that you seek out THE DOUBLE from 2013. As well as also starring Jesse Eisenberg, it’s a film that shares VIVARIUM‘s theme of being lost or trapped in a mysterious situation, and its claustrophobic, oppressive atmosphere.

Eisenberg and Mia Wasikowska star in writer / director Richard Ayoade’s adaptation of Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s novella about a man who goes insane after the appearance of his doppelgänger. Quiet, unassuming office employee Simon (Eisenberg) goes unnoticed at work, is ridiculed by his own mother and lacks the confidence to attract the attention of his dream girl Hannah (Wasikowska). His new colleague James (also played by Eisenberg) is Simon’s double in appearance but is his exact opposite in terms of personality, being full of confidence and charisma. When James begins to take over his life, Simon’s mental health becomes increasingly fragile. The cast also features Wallace Shawn, Noah Taylor, Sally Hawkins, Chris O’Dowd and Paddy Considine.

The Double | 2013 | Richard Ayoade | UK | Cert 15 | 93 mins | English language

The film received a positive critical response, described by one reviewer as “like a lucid dream on the subway in odd hours” which “leaves one feeling intellectually stimulated, creatively charged, and close to existential panic.”

We showed this film all the way back in our very first year, 2014, at our earliest venue, Artlink. If you missed it then, or fancy watching it again, you can find it available to buy or rent on services including You Tube, Apple TV and Amazon.

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