A consistently intelligent (or at least bright), coherently constructed comedy that is on occasion a rather pointed critique of the American education system in the…
It takes "The Double" less than half an hour to reveal who the double is. That's if you're lucky enough to avoid the movie's trailer, which just comes right out and tells you.
At that point, Peggy Lee lyrics went humming through my mind ("Is that all there is?"), and veteran thriller fan that I am, I began to suspect the movie had more than one double. That would be so incredible and absurd that I thought it was possible. Here is a movie constructed from basic parts at the Used Screenplay Store, with a character plugged in whenever one is required.
Still, it is a pleasure to see Richard Gere in the lead. He's an actor who has been improbably attractive all of his career and now, at 62, has only improved with age. I like the subtle catlike body language he uses, such as moving for a millisecond, pausing, then moving definitively. Or the pause in a head movement, as if we're being told: Thinking … deciding … acting. He never just flat does something. It's a form of dancing. He is permanently on poise.
In "The Double," he plays a retired CIA agent named Paul Shepherdson. In the history of CIA agents in movies, no retired agent is ever allowed to stay retired. He is inexorably called back to duty in connection with a big case from his youth. Given his age, there are no characters seemingly old enough to go that far back, except for current CIA director Tom Highland (Martin Sheen), but he isn't onscreen enough to qualify.