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The Devil's Double

by

Jeff Nelson

However, this should only be viewed by those with a strong stomach.

The Devil's Double
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The job of creating a piece of cinema that flows naturally lies upon the screenwriter and the actors. When even one of these parties fails to correctly do his or her job, the film often fails as a whole if the movie is attempting to be taken seriously. The Devil's Double may be odd, but at least it's something different from the constant remakes, prequels, and reboots. However, this should only be viewed by those with a strong stomach.

Summoned from the frontline to Saddam Hussein's palace, Iraqi army lieutenant Latif Yahia is thrust into the highest portion of the "royal family" when he's ordered to become the body double to Saddam's son, Uday Hussein. He's a reckless, sadistic party-boy with a rabid hunger for sex and brutality. With his and his fame's lives at stake, Latif must surrender his former self forever as he learns to walk, talk, and act like Uday. The plot itself is interesting and kept my attention from start to finish. Unfortunately, the script is hit and miss. The dialogue is decent, but the focus was placed in the wrong area. Uday isn't a very interesting character, as his actions become repetitive and quite predictable. Latif is a much more intriguing character. A large portion of the film shows Uday's evil actions and attempt to control Latif under his power. However, it would have been more engrossing to see more of Latif's character instead of him portraying Uday. Even so, The Devil's Double still manages to keep the pace moving as there's always something occurring.

There are three characters that this film primarily centers around, but only two actors. Dominic Cooper is absolutely phenomenal performing as both day Hussein and Latif Yahia. Even though these characters are opposites in every way imaginable, Cooper is able to truly capture both of them. The Academy should certainly recognize his performances by rewarding him with an Oscar nomination. Not only is he believable, but he delivers stunning dynamics through the range of many emotions. The rest of the cast, including Ludivine Sagnier, are decent as well. Dominic Cooper certainly steals the show and puts on two great performances.

Director Lee Tamahori takes advantage of utilizing the visuals to aid in telling the story. The style is extremely gritty, which describes the content. This isn't a tame film as it's full of brutality and sex. The violence is graphic and is shown as is, there isn't any sugar-coating. The camera work is good, as well. The audio is excellent. The dialogue is never difficult to hear and is always loud and clear. The surround channels are constantly active, but always sounds accurate and doesn't come across as gimmicky. Bass comes alive multiple times during The Devil's Double.

Once the Academy Award nominations are announced, I wouldn't be surprised to see Dominic Cooper receive an Oscar nomination. He is superb from start to finish as both characters. However, the film certainly has issues, primarily in the screenwriting department. The nonstop violence may be too much for some audiences, but it's worthwhile for those who can stomach the brutality and sexual content. The Devil's Double could have been much better, but it still is well worth watching for mature audiences.

My Rating = Three and One Half Stars

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