Who Can You Trust?
Release Date: March 20, 2009
Genre: Comic Spy Thriller/Heist
Audience: Older teenagers and adults
Runtime: 125 minutes
Distributor: Universal Pictures/General Electric (G.E.)
Director: Tony Gilroy
Executive Producer: Ryan Kavanaugh
Writer: Tony Gilroy
Address Comments To:Jeffrey R. Immelt, Chairman/CEO, General Electric
Jeff Zucker, President/CEO, NBC Universal
Ron Meyer, President/COO, Universal Studios
Marc Shmuger, Chairman
David Linde, Co-Chairman
100 Universal City Plaza
Universal City, CA 91608-1085
Phone: (818) 777-1000
Web Page: www.universalstudios.com
The story opens in 2003 at the U.S. Consulate in Dubai where a British spy, Ray Kovic (Clive Owen), picks up a beautiful woman, Claire Stenwick (Julia Roberts). During an implied sexual rendezvous in Ray’s hotel room, Claire, a CIA agent, drugs Ray and steals some important Egyptian documents he has stolen.
Five years later, Ray is on the first day of his job in New York City as an industrial spy for fiery CEO Dick Garsik (Paul Giamatti). Garsik’s espionage team is trying to get the formula for the top-secret product that his rival, Howard Tully, is about to announce. Ray finds out that Claire is the inside woman in Tully’s company helping his boss steal the formula.
A series of flashbacks reveals that Ray and Claire have actually become lovers, even though Claire stole those documents from Ray. By pretending not to like one another, they hope to steal Tully’s top-secret formula for themselves. The question is, however, can Ray and Claire trust one another?
The plot for DUPLICITY is much more complicated than described here. Also, the multiple shifts in time may make it hard for many moviegoers to follow. Whether or not that is the case for every viewer, it does make the movie slightly less entertaining than it could have been. Even so, DUPLICITY is a fun movie with crackling dialogue and fine performances.
Also, a lot of the movie’s conflict revolves around the relationship between its two main characters. Ray and Claire like to play mental games with one another, to test how much they can trust the other person. All this creates an added tension between them. Hence, the title of the movie: DUPLICITY.
The movie’s title is also reflected in the rivalry between the two companies and their CEOs. The twists at the end play off this conflict and add another layer of meaning to the movie’s title.
Without giving away the twists at the end, the movie ultimately shows, albeit half-heartedly, that crime and dishonesty don’t pay. It is only half-hearted because a couple characters do indeed get away with some dishonesty.
In a world of industrial espionage, however, where the game is set up so that everyone must play a double or even a triple game of deceit, some dishonesty is sure to be rewarded. For example, when Rahab hid the two Hebrew spies in the Book of Joshua and lied to the King of Jericho, Rahab and the spies were serving the Lord, who had decided that the people of Jericho were completely evil and should be destroyed. As the Book of Joshua indicates, Rahab’s protection of the spies, although by deceit, was rewarded, “and she lives among the Israelites to this day” (Joshua 6:25). In fact, Rahab is a direct ancestor not only of King David and his sons Nathan and Solomon but also of Jesus Christ, through both Mary, Christ’s biological mother, and Joseph, Christ’s adoptive father (see Luke 3:23-38 and Matthew 1:1-16).
Ultimately, DUPLICITY shows that people cannot be fully trusted. The Bible also shows this in many ways. In addition, however, the Bible also shows that God is the One who really can be (and should be) trusted. In fact, God is so trustworthy that He gave His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, so that all who believe on Jesus will be saved from their own sins, including their faithlessness, their rebellion and their dishonesty. The outcome of this salvation is a restored relationship, or New Covenant, between God and Man.
DUPLICITY and its multiple flashbacks are a little too complicated to be thoroughly entertaining. Even so, the movie is fun, with crackling dialogue and fine performances. The story shows that crime and dishonesty don’t pay, but there is some immoral content that is not rebuked, including pre-marital sex and plenty of foul language.