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|Review: The Devil's Double|
|Written by Ivan Radford|
|Monday, 08 August 2011 07:17|
Director: Lee Tamahori
What's hotter than Dominic Cooper? Two Dominic Coopers. It's pretty sound logic and The Devil's Double runs with it. Cooper plays Latif, a ex-army man chosen to be the fiday (body double) for Saddam Hussein's son, Uday, also played by Cooper. Politics, Dominic Cooper and the director of Die Another Day? What could possibly go wrong?
The film starts with the heir to Iraq showing the lowly Latif all his shiny gold toys. Gold-encrusted cars, gold-encrusted guns, gold-encrusted women - if you can name it, he can encrust it in gold. "All I own is yours, Latif! We are brothers!" Uday cries.
This is the part where Latif is meant to be won over by the gold and all the stuff it's encrusted. But he never is.
In an effort to keep things black and white, Dominic Cooper remains stoically unseduced by his glitzy new lifestyle. But Lee Tamahori won't leave it there. Determined to show Dominic's bad side, we see Cooper repeatedly throw garish, gold-encrusted parties and (in one lurid scene) sexually assault a young girl.
It works, but it's unnecessary - we don't need any help distinguishing Dominic Cooper from Dominic Cooper. You can tell from the protruding teeth, sticky uppy hair and mentile outbursts of rage which one's the evil madman. Their accents are equally dodgy, but Cooper's performance is so confident that the two characters are completely convincing.
By the time the second half comes along, the film's refusal to blur the lines or vary the dialogue leaves it floundering for ideas. A neat line in tennis-playing Saddam doubles raises a smile, but there's only so many times you can watch Uday wave a gun around and shout "I own you!" before you switch off and start daydreaming about Kevin Kline's Dave.
Tamahori keeps the camerawork dynamic and the music turned up loud, but The Devil's Double doesn't recapture the tension of the first hour, mainly because it never moves beyond its initial, factual premise. If only the film were more willing to trust Cooper's talent and paint Latif a shade of grey. Or at least encrust him in gold like everything else.
The Devil's Double is a film of two halves. Dominic Cooper is excellent in both.
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