"Double the Espionage, Half the Fun"
What You Need To Know:
THE DOUBLE features fast-paced action, but it’s too carelessly written and contains too many loose ends and confusing characters. The violent assassinations, which involve slitting people’s throats, are mercifully quick but sometimes unpleasantly graphic. Also, all the double-crossing deceptions become dispiriting for the viewer, especially those who might like to see a rousing, patriotic spy thriller. THE DOUBLE is definitely not that and contains some unpleasant violence and foul language. Extreme caution is advised. Instead of THE DOUBLE, older spy movie fans probably would prefer Michael Caine’s 1966 movie THE IPCRESS FILE.
(RoRoRo, AP, LL, VV, S, A, M) Very strong Romantic worldview in a mediocre espionage thriller centered on double agents working in the U.S. who are hiding their true natures and are constantly duplicitous as a result, plus it’s revealed early on that a CIA agent turns out to be a former Communist spy trying to get revenge against the Communist assassin who murdered his wife and son, but his identity eventually is covered up; five obscenities, 14 strong profanities, and one sarcastic “Thank God!” plus a Russian criminal telling an FBI agent, “Your mother’s a whore” and calling him “Son of a whore”; strong violence includes several garrotings (or throat slicing using wires) shown both in quick live-action moments as well as the resulting aftermath in numerous crime-scene photos, Russian criminal tricks FBI agents into giving him a radio and then pretends to swallow the radio batteries in a fake suicide attempt that turns into an escape attempt from the prison hospital in which he beats or shoves several employees out of his way while carrying a gun and a scalpel, Russian agent is quickly captured and then his throat sliced by an older CIA agent who pretends he didn’t kill the man, man drags a Russian prostitute out of her trailer-home window and across some dirt, man throws said prostitute on a wall near some water and repeatedly threatens her with a gun, leading characters want to kill other people, duplicitous man is out for murderous revenge against the Soviet assassin who killed his wife and son, a foot chase, a major car chase results in numerous objects being destroyed and ends with a crash, and a final shootout; light sexual content involves references to prostitution; no nudity; social drinking; no smoking or drugs; and, lying, deception, and Russian and Communist double agents pose as Americans (including security officers working for the government) but one refuses to return to Russia when ordered to do so because of his American family.
HE DOUBLE is an espionage thriller that has too many confusing characters and not enough plot to keep one’s interest between the chase scenes and several killings.
The movie stars Richard Gere as Paul, a retired CIA man brought in to work with Ben, a young FBI agent, to track down a Russian assassin nicknamed Cassius. The partnership is triggered when some Russian agents slip through the U.S. border as immigrants and a U.S. Senator is murdered. The murder reminds people of the MO of Cassius.
The rest of the movie consists of Paul and Ben arguing over Cassius’ motives. Also, a series of increasingly confusing revelations about which men are agents for whom, and why, ensues.
THE DOUBLE features some fast-paced action that should appeal to adult action fans, but it’s too carelessly written to hold up well or be memorable the moment it’s over. Too many loose ends and murky plot details don’t help. The violent assassinations, which involve slitting people’s throats, are mercifully quick but sometimes unpleasantly graphic. Also, all the double-crossing deceptions eventually become dispiriting for the viewer.
Overall, this is a movie with some exciting action moments, and fairly few profanities and obscenities for its genre, but it lacks good writing to make it worthwhile viewing for the average moviegoer. For media-wise viewers, the movie is rated PG-13 primarily for its violence and some foul language. Also, what could have been a patriotic movie about American agents stopping an assassination team turns out to be a murky story about [SPOILER ALERTS] a current Russian agent in America ordered to protect some past Cold War machinations by the former Soviet Communist government in Russia from exposure. Also dropped into this story are themes about getting revenge for the previous murder of a loved one. Eventually, the current Russian agent decides not to go back to Russia but stay with his American wife.
Extreme caution is advised for THE DOUBLE.