The Devil’s Double (Blu-ray)
I remember how excited I was when I first saw the trailer for THE DEVIL’S DOUBLE. It looked like a suspenseful and educational perspective of a body double from the corrupt world of Saddam Hussein’s family. I could not have been more wrong on my assessment.
Saddam Hussein had two sons. His oldest Uday, was an insane, chaotic playboy, drunk with power who murdered and raped anyone he wished. THE DEVIL’S DOUBLE is basically a rather monotonous look at these horrific actions from the point of view of Uday’s body double, Latif Yahia.
The film introduces Latif, an Iraqi soldier who loves his country, being asked to be a body double for Uday Hussein. In order to pull this off, he will need to undergo some minor plastic surgery, his death will be faked and he will belong to Uday. But he also will have all the riches of the Hussein family at his disposal. If Latif turns this offer down, not only will his life be threatened, but also his family’s. So in order to save his loved ones lives he chooses figurative death, losing his entire identity to become a man he despises. This was a great premise that sets up a sympathetic character in a devastating situation that the audience can immediately get behind. Unfortunately, rather than continue this intriguing storyline that sets up endless possibilities full of misidentification and clever escape and assassination plans, THE DEVIL’S DOUBLE becomes a one note show about a bad man doing bad things.
Rather than just using one shocking action to understand how evil Uday’s character is, the movie attempts to create his character as the story. Time after time we watch Uday drink, take drugs, murder, chase down and rape children and rape a bride on her wedding day. This all becomes too much for Latif (let alone the audience) who has been watching powerlessly in disgust until finally he has a failed suicide attempt followed by a rather weak assassination attempt. The final actions by our supposed hero all culminate to a dissatisfying, anticlimactic, unreasonable end to the film.
Dominic Cooper pulled double duty as both the reserved, helpless Latif and the flamboyantly insane Uday. The film relies heavily upon his performance as he is in nearly every frame of the picture twice. Cooper held up his part of the deal by transforming into the two very different characters in every way possible. His performance was nothing short of amazing; unfortunately the script itself was without any true substance to make it worthwhile. But I believe THE DEVIL’S DOUBLE will be a nice stepping stone for Mr. Cooper to get larger parts in more mainstream films.
Director Lee Tamahori admitted that he did not intend to follow the true story behind the film but rather to make an exciting action movie strictly for entertainment purposes. I’m not sure why he chose this route. Perhaps the true story simply wasn’t that interesting. The problem here is that the film he made was neither exciting nor entertaining and the action was bland.
Video: (1080P High Definition 16×9 Widescreen 2.35:1) The picture quality is top notch, clear and dynamic with its colors and locations.
Audio: (7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio) Terrific audio, utilizing all the sounds from the crowded Iraq cities, firing bullets and 80’s musical soundtrack.
Audio Commentary by Director Lee Tamahori: He gives a technical commentary talking about the action and violence within the film but mostly recaps what is happening about location and special effects.
True Crime Family (16:10): This is kind of all over the place, first talking about the Hussein and other crime families, then moving onto the violence in the film and costuming.
Double Down with Dominic Cooper (8:46): Cooper discusses his characters, while others involved involved in the film talk about how great he did and how they would put him in the same scene with himself.
The Real Devil’s Double (7:44): They actually had the real Uday body double, Latif Yahia, on set. Apparently he wrote the book upon which the film is loosely based on. Here we get an interview with him. This is far more interesting than the film.