The Devil’s Double (2011) – Review

2 Stars


What do you get when you cross the high-points of GoodFellas, Scarface, and Blow? Apparently it results in the lumpy concoction that is The Devil’s Double. A troubling wannabe thriller that focuses on the true story of Latif Yahia, a solider who is pulled into the world of Uday Hussan. Latif is forced to pose as a decoy or double for the son of the famous elder Hussan. In the process Latif undergoes plastic surgery and intensive training to perfect the exact duplicate image of Uday. Life is good as the president’s son, perks include women, watches and exotic cars. Yet Latif is a moral man and he is troubled by the rape and torture that is an everyday occurrence in Baghdad.

There is an incredible story in here somewhere, unfortunately the screenplay from Michael Thomas is so rushed and cliche ridden that it’s difficult to feel any sympathy for the man losing his personal identity. This was obviously the intention of the filmmakers and at times the superb acting from Dominic Cooper (in a dual role) is enough to overcome the banality of the entire enterprise.

Director Lee Tamahori and his set designers chose to bath the film in a golden hue and I think it was a mistake. The opening scenes are quite beautiful, particularly the interiors of the palaces, but eventually it becomes overbearing and quite distracting. The biggest problem with The Devil’s Double is in putting the viewer in a position that suggest they should have an affinity for a man plucked from the Iranian Army and allowed to indulge in excesses that most will never experience. Despite Cooper and the intriguing premises the entire movie is just a reminder of films that have covered similar territory, better.

Director: Lee Tamahori
Stars: Dominic Cooper, Ludivine Sagnier, Raad Rawi

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