Wednesday, December 7, 2011

THE DEVIL'S DOUBLE (2011)

Awesome idea for a movie: a soldier in the Iraqi army is forced to be Uday Hussein's body double. If he refuses his entire family will be tortured and killed. Reluctantly, he accepts and has his face surgically changed to be exactly the same as Uday's. He lives with Uday and studies all of his mannerisms so he can be his political double as well, making speeches and television appearances. Through all of this he begins to see to full extent of just how fucked things are and he believes that Uday might really be insane. He has to escape.

I loved the idea for this movie and was quite excited about it. I was expecting it to be extremely violent and vile like a SCARFACE centered around a dictator with endless power and no sense of right or wrong, only greed. Instead there was hardly any violence at all and most of the nasty things that happened were implied or just barely touched on. I never got a complete sense of hopelessness and terror that you would expect in a story like this. Saddam Hussein was a complete asshole who had zero problem ordering the massacre of hundreds of thousands of men, women and children and here you got a story about a innocent guy forced to live side-by-side with this monster's son and be the double of a guy who has a private torture chamber and rapes and murders women and children as sport, so you would expect this movie to be more depressing than the fish aisle at Wal-Mart, but instead it was just meh.

After watching the film I discovered this was supposedly based on a true story and there's even a book about it, but I can't even find it on Amazon, so I don't know. The idea is fascinating and I would love to read a well-written book on the subject of dictator's body/political doubles. As far as the movie goes, it's still worth watching, but I just wish it was more brutal.  Dominic Cooper's dual performance alone is worth the price of admission.