Gregory Kirschling
October 15, 2004 AT 04:00 AM EDT

The Double

type
Movie
Current Status
In Season
mpaa
PG-13
runtime
98 minutes
Limited Release Date
10/28/11
performer
Richard Gere, Topher Grace
distributor
Image Entertainment
genre
Drama

We gave it an A-

The 82-year-old Portuguese Nobel winner crafts his latest novel, The Double, around ”this extraordinary, singular, astonishing, and never-before-seen case of the duplicate man.” One lonely night, depressed history teacher Tertuliano Maximo Afonso pops a stupid B movie into the VCR and is shaken to find his exact physical double — identical, he later learns, down to the fingerprint — playing the bit part of a hotel clerk. Don’t be daunted by JoséSaramago’s famous 18-page paragraphs and page-long sentences. Oh, all right, be a little daunted. But that garrulous omniscient narrator — droll, delightful, persnickety, philosophical, always second-guessing — actually steals the book from the story’s two carbon-copy protagonists. Saramago might’ve dug deeper into the premise than he ultimately does, but a last little twist, delivered in a final paragraph of a mere two pages, is delicious.

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