Monday, August 1, 2011

Unamusing Movie Review: The Devil's Double

This evening we saw a preview screening of The Devil's Double.

This movie is about a guy with huge, brooding eyes who has the dubious fortune, with some minor plastic surgery and false buckteeth, of being a near perfect double for Saddam Hussein's son Uday.

He is forcibly recruited for this position, and spends his days filling in for Uday in boring meetings and generally hanging out with him and his guards, drugs, and women. In the course of these duties, he witnesses a wide variety of atrocities, because Uday Hussein is a horrible person with few limits on his ability to do whatever he wants.

That's kind of what there is to this movie.

Takeaway messages I felt the film conveyed:

Uday Hussein was terrible and we're not sorry he's dead. Power corrupts. Dictatorship is a form of government that serves very few of its citizens, although the elite will always find a way to have fabulously debauched parties while others get by as best they can. Being close to a horrible person, even if they don't always treat you horribly, basically sucks.

Valid points, if not striking ones.

It's an interesting story, based on someone's certainly very interesting actual life. I don't know that it's one that struck me personally with many deep insights, but others may have another take on it.

Another thing I couldn't help but notice is that, as often happens in movies, the lead roles are played by people who, as best I can tell (and I could be making an unwarranted assumption), are white.

No insult to Dominic Cooper, who plays Latif Yahia and Uday Hussein, or to Ludivine Sagnier, who plays the main female role, Sarrab, but you just wonder if there were no people of Arab descent in existence who could have played these parts.

Dominic Cooper resembles a dark-haired Karl Urban. His giant eyes are truly magnificent. Only Ludivine Sagnier's are more enormous and tormented. They each did a totally fine job.

I just thought that an actor who perhaps was actually from Iraq might also have been able to do a good job. But I guess we shall never know.


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