Dominic Cooper gives a ravishing, scintillating, stunning dual performance as Uday Hussein, the poster boy for evil incarnate and Latif Yahia the unfortunate lookalike who must “extinguish” his honorable character and impersonate Uday, at the devil’s whim. The film is based on the autobiographical novel by Yahia.
The portrayals are so gifted that never once do you confuse the two men; Uday, the poisonous, toxic, deviant psychopath is a madder, drug- addicted version of his father, Saddam, laughing insanely as he ravishes and steals, shoots whatever he desires; he trolls the streets of Baghdad for schools girls, raping, sodomizing, murdering for pleasure. His lustful, blood-crazed, insatiable appetite is repugnant: the absence of accountability, truthful and difficult to observe.
The unfortunate Latif, struggles valiantly to hold on to the slightest shred of dignity, humanity, but for the well-being of his family succumbs to Uday’s threats. Cooper’s erstwhile and hypnotic performance is worthy of Academy Award recognition.
The brilliant cinematography incorporates real scenes from the Persian Gulf War with the atrocities, nefariousness of the Saddam regime. The viewer is riveted, imprisoned every impassioned, hypnotic moment.
The film wavers and challenges believability with Latif’s relationship with the pneumatic, ferociously sensual Sarrab (Ludivine Sagnier), Uday’s muse, mistress and indentured, sexual slave. Their problematic pairing defies veracity, sanity.
Leaving wondering if “The Devil’s Double “ will be shown in the revitalized Iraq and how will it be received?
THREE & 1/2 STARS!!!
This movie was screened last October at the Chicago International Film Festival; my review is stale but imminently timely. “The Robber” (Austria/Germany) , the final release in a trinity, based upon the real life Austrian miscreant, Pump-Gun Ronnie aka Johann Rettenberg (enigmatically depicted by Andreas Lust); it is a stylized story of a felon who capitalizes upon his refined abilities as a bank robber and a marathon runner. This unique saga never quite actualizes its tremendous potential; the running and robbing scenes are tantalizing and thrilling but an emptiness, inertia seeps in and “robs” its potency.