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8.25 out of 10

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

The Devil's Double

The Devil You Know Is Not Always Better

Director: Lee Tamahori
Writers: Michael Thomas, Latif Yahia
Cast: Dominic Cooper, Ludivine Sagnier, Raad Rawi

The Devils Double movie image

SYNOPSIS: Latif Yahia, a soldier in the Iraqi army is chosen by the Uday, the son of Suddam Hussein, to become his "brother" - a look-alike to stand in for him and offer an additional target in case of assassination attempts. Latif is forced to give up his own life entirely, enduring surgery to look more like Uday and enduring Uday's life of amoral debauchery.

REVIEW: What do you do when a man as evil as the Devil choses you to become like him and to become him when its suits him? Director Lee Tamahori, known for Next and XXX: State of the Union, and writer Michael Thomas take on the life story of Latif Yahia just as he is forcibly chosen to be a body double brother to Uday Hussein. Set in the time leading up to and after the invasion of Kuwait by the Iraqi army, The Devil's Double is a look at two men. One is a man who relishes having no moral center and the other is a man who must become his mirror image but desperately attempts to maintain a shred of his own honor and set of values.

Dominic Cooper (Howard Stark from Captain America: The First Avenger) plays both sides of the coin with duel roles as Latif Yahia and Uday Hussein. His performance is so stunning and gripping that you almost forget that the Latif and Uday are played by the same actor. The portrayal of Uday borders on the bizarre, the son of powerful dictator Saddam Hussein (Philip Quast) whose sexual appetites and quick petulant rage have no limits or consequences - even from his father whose love for him tempers his hand. Latif, on the other hand, suffers with his forced servitude at Uday's whims, his loss of his own identity and his inability to stay Uday's hand for sex and violence - most the time together.

The Devil's Double has a strong supporting cast, notably Raad Rawi as Uday's executive Munem who has resigned himself to the whims of Uday, knowing (or hoping) that Uday's reign of terror will come to an end when Saddam's dictatorship ends. Although resigned, he keeps his head held high and performs the duties of his station with professionalism and aplomb. Also forced into a life not dreamt of is Uday's concubine and whore Sarrab, played by Ludivine Sagnier, looking for a way out and playing all of the angles to do so.

Using actual footage of the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, the scolding by President Bush, and the United States of America's response and subsequent invasion to repel the Iraqi armies, The Devil's Double makes all too real the drama of recent events in history. But what we may have been fed to the masses through the media up to, during and after involvement with Iraq, The Devil's Double, through Uday, venomously points out that his father built the roads, the schools, the mosques, the hospitals that led the country into a more modern era. Of course, Uday, through his actions, makes apparent that because of his father he is entitled to take whatever he wants, mostly from women whether they be brides on their wedding day or school girls on their way home from class.

The Devil's Double is a powerful film, centered around the powerful performance of Dominic Cooper. The subject matter is heavy and dramatic. Who is really responsible for their actions when they are so rich, powerful and well-connected that they can simply employ someone to play them whenever they want? And how can someone withstand the atrocities of that man and still keep his own sanity when he is forced to see that man's face every time he looks in the mirror?

WORTH: Matinee or Rental

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