The Devil’s Double Review
By Kate Peterson
Let me start out by saying I couldn’t wait to see this movie. Living where I live, (the ass of nowhere), we actually get some pretty cool independent films at our local AMC, but the catch is you have to wait a month or two since the movie’s been released to see it. I saw this movie more than a week ago and it’s taken SO long to get this review out because I’ve been conflicted….I could not decide how to articulate how I felt about this movie. I decided to write this review, though, in hopes that perhaps you will see it and we can talk about this together, Anonymous Review Reader (I’ll just call you ARR to save time).
Well, ARR, if you don’t know, this movie is about Saddam Hussein’s oldest son, Uday (The Devil) and his live-in double (Latif Yahia) both played by Dominic Cooper. If you’re younger than me, or not a history buff, you may not know that Uday Hussein was known as the ‘Black Prince’ among Iraqi people because of his….well….love of just murdering and raping the crap out of everything that ever existed. This movie doesn’t change my perception of history though. I walked in thinking Uday Hussein was a monster, and left feeling the same way (and also like I probably know everything, of course). The story actually centers around Latif, a young military man who is plucked from his family and forced to serve as Uday’s double. He does this only to save his family, as he is assured by his government that they will be harmed if he doesn’t comply. Cooper plays the parts well, and the camera work is fantastic. Uday is portrayed as socially inept and sometimes silly, but still a murderous, sexually deviant sociopath. Historically, this movie is not very sensationalized, right up to the gritty/gory horribleness–Uday was famous for it–most of it is historically accurate. Director Lee Tamahori is not afraid to make you feel uncomfortable with the violence and blood (which is definitely an intentional thing). Cooper is also effective at earning empathy for Latif, who is conflicted and frightened, and finally heroic (in the sense that he found the courage to withstand the company of Uday and his body guards).
BUT, the movie is loud, and busy, and doesn’t give you a lot of time to think. No quiet introspection on the part of anybody, it relies solely on its audacity(is that a word? for today it is!) and shock value. Cooper isn’t given the opportunity to show us what he’s personally capable of, but still provides a human perspective on this monster of a man. I found myself affected, despite the movie’s flaws, and that’s a good thing.
Givin’ it a solid B, folks.
P.s. Audacity is a word. And I used it correctly. Take THAT law school!