The Devil’s Double is an interesting, true story done in quite an average way. It suffers from the fact that it clearly didn’t have the budget or interest the story requires and what we get is a film that feels it’s lacking the killer punch it needs.
That isn’t to say that what is delivered isn’t a really good effort. The story of Saddam Hussein’s son and the life of his body double is a very interesting one and it requires Dominic Cooper (of Iron Man’s Dad fame) to deliver a double performance, playing both the sadistic son and the helpless double.
His is the real triumph of the movie. The two characters are very different and the best compliment you can give the performance is that you forget he is the same person playing two parts because he manages to transform the role into two. He is also well supported, particularly by Philip Quast who does a very good Saddam Hussein.
The story is presented very well too. It doesn’t shy away from the gory details and without knowing how much of it is actually true, delivers it in a horrific enough fashion that you can’t look away. The way the story escalates and the closer you get to the main character of Latif, the more you want him to succeed and get out.
Without knowing the full story, or how true this account is, there are times when the movie seems cliché and it would be the biggest criticism if it weren’t for the vein of truth running through. The typical love triangle develops, the threats to a family and the gradual courageous heroics of the main character begin to make the movie feel slightly false or at least embellished to make the story more palatable.
It also misses that killer touch or blockbuster feel. The closest cousin to Devil’s Double is The Last King of Scotland which had a more credible, less TV-movie feel to it, with two great performances at its core. This has Dominic Cooper, who is fantastic, but then very little else to really distinguish it as a success or a film worth paying attention too.
Overall, Devil’s Double is an interesting story and features a great performance from Dominic Cooper. He manages to play two characters fantastically and really transforms himself into two distinctive roles. The problem lies with the packaging of the movie, which feels like it needs a bit more cash, slightly more care and a few bigger performances to really give the story the weight it deserves.
Rating – 3
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