The Devil's Double
Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely
Release Date: July 29, 2011
Genre: Historical Drama
Runtime: 108 minutes
Distributor: Lionsgate Films
Director: Lee Tamahori
Writer: Michael Thomas
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Based on a true story, the movie opens with Uday in Baghdad summoning Latif, a young man who looks almost exactly like him. Uday remembers Latif from military training. Thinking that Latif will believe it’s a great honor, Uday smilingly offers him the job of being his double, with all the perks that come with it. When Latif refuses, Uday forces him to take the job by threatening his family.
With his family’s lives at stake, Latif learns to walk, talk and act like the reckless, sadistic party boy, complete with prosthetic teeth to mimic Uday’s memorable overbite. Uday’s psychotic, drug-addled lifestyle subjects Latif to countless dangers, not the least of which are assassins’ bullets.
Against his better judgment, Latif forges an intimate bond with Sarrab, Uday’s beautiful mistress, who also feels trapped by Uday. As war begins with Kuwait and Uday becomes even more crazed, Latif realizes that escaping this devil’s den will come at the highest possible cost.
Dominic Cooper does an absolutely brilliant job of portraying both Uday and his reluctant real-life double, Latif. The movie is based on Latif’s autobiographical novel of his life as Uday’s double. Screenwriter Michael Thomas and Director Lee Tamahori have created a modern-day gangster movie ripped from the pages of real history. They make very clear, in a very moving, restrained and powerful way, the price that Latif has to pay to escape Uday and his sadistic brutality.
Although parts of the story have been fictionalized, THE DEVIL’S DOUBLE presents an inside look at the lunatic Hussein family. It’s a perfect celluloid portrayal of the old adage, “Absolute power corrupts absolutely.” As such, it’s a major work that should remind everyone of the dangers of unrestrained power, especially in government where tyrannical leaders and bureaucrats can completely corrupt the whole society, including the legal system and the military.
That said, there are two gruesome scenes of violence and other hints of extreme violence in THE DEVIL’S DOUBLE. There’s also an explicit bedroom scene as well as some sexual innuendo and implied immorality, including incest and Uday’s interest in teenage schoolgirls, all of which reflect his upbringing as a follower of Mohammed. In another explicit scene, Uday orders all the people at a party to take off all their clothes. Finally, THE DEVIL’S DOUBLE contains 66 obscenities. Happily, the most extreme, most disturbing scenes are few.
Normally, such content would require an Excessive, Minus Three rating from MOVIEGUIDE®. THE DEVIL’S DOUBLE, however, not only documents an important part of history that has affected everyone around the world. It also has important lessons for everyone, especially those in the halls of power. Even so, THE DEVIL’S DOUBLE is only recommended with extreme caution.
THE DEVIL’S DOUBLE is a perfect portrayal of the old adage, “Absolute power corrupts absolutely.” Dominic Cooper does a brilliant job of portraying both Uday and his reluctant real-life double, Latif. That said, there are two gruesome scenes of violence and other hints of extreme violence, an explicit bedroom scene, lots of strong foul language, and explicit nudity. Normally, such content would require an unacceptable Minus Three Rating, but THE DEVIL’S DOUBLE documents an important part of history that has affected everyone and that carries important lessons. Even so, THE DEVIL’S DOUBLE is only recommended with extreme caution.