"Who Can You Trust?"
DUPLICITY is both a spy thriller and a heist movie that is also an extended essay about trust. Though it’s not a particularly morally uplifting movie, it does show, somewhat half-heartedly, that crime and dishonesty don’t pay.
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.
(PaPa, B, LLL, V, S, NN, A, MM) Strong pagan worldview with some light moral implications; about 39 obscenities (including one “f” words and many “h” words), 14 strong profanities and eight light profanities; light violence includes a man tailing a man is knocked down so the man can get away and a thief handcuffed to furniture has his eyes and mouth taped up and struggles later to get free; implied fornication, kissing and man kisses female partner’s naked back after implied sex has occurred; upper male nude, brief partial rear female nudity in one shot and another shot from the side shows partial view of woman’s breast; alcohol use; no smoking; and, lying, deceit, dishonesty, stealing, and CIA spy drugs British spy unconscious to steal some state secrets he stole, but movie also implies that crime and dishonesty don’t really pay and that constant dishonesty can lead to a serious lack of trust.
DUPLICITY, starring Julia Roberts and Clive Own, opens at the U.S. Consulate in Dubai. A British spy, Ray Kovic, picks up a beautiful woman, Claire Stenwick. During a 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 starts working in New York City as an industrial spy for CEO Dick Garsik. Garsik’s espionage team is trying to get the formula for the top-secret product that his rival, Howard Tully, is announcing. Ray realizes 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, despite the first scene. They want to steal Tully’s secret formula for themselves. The question is, can Ray and Claire trust one another?
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.