Movie Review: The Devil’s Double (2011)
“Play the part or suffer the consequences”
The Devil’s Double (2011)
Director: Lee Tamahori
Cast: Dominic Cooper, Ludivine Sagnier, Raad Rawi
Synopsis: A soldier who bears a striking resemblance to the son of Saddam Hussein is forced to become his double.
The story of the man who became the double of Uday Hussein, the psychotic son of Iraq’s infamous Saddam Hussein, is a potentially intriguing one, but it doesn’t really work in Lee Tamahori’s The Devil’s Double. Although the war following Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait is touched upon, the film feels a little too insular for its own good, and plays too often like a series of loosely connected anecdotes rather than a linear narrative. Only when Latif (Dominic Cooper – Reasonable Doubt, Warcraft), the hapless soldier with the misfortune to look like Uday, finally rebels and goes on the run does the plot tighten up, but then it begins to resemble some sub-Bond espionage thriller.
True stories always take some liberties with the facts, and this is undoubtedly the case here. While there’s little doubt that Uday was probably as crazy as he is portrayed here – he even makes his dad (Philip Quast) appear to be a reasonable man – it’s difficult to believe Latif remained completely untouched or un-tempted by the freely available luxuries – both material and physical – that surrounded him. In fact, he sometimes comes across as a little too pious to be believable at times, while displaying little apparent fear of the madman who holds sway over his life.
Dominic Cooper is terrific in the dual roles of Uday and Latif, and looks as if he’s having a ball as the dictator’s son, playing him as a kind of crazed kid in a candy store, who, without his power, would be little more than a comical buffoon.
(Reviewed 14th January 2012)