Finally went to a screening of The Devil’s Double, and gee golly, it didn’t get canceled. Quite in fact, one of the greatest perks of going to a limited release movie on a Wednesday night occurred… No one else showed up and I had the theater all to myself…!
I got there 15 minutes early, and sat in the theater in the front of the back section, feet sprawled on the railing, lounging there like a sultan. Nothing greater than a private movie screening. The protectionist is sitting up there, catering only to my entertainment, bwahahaha!
Then the previews started. And a middle-aged couple came in. Rats! In addition to that, they were loud. Right when they walked in, the husband pointed right at me and said “THANKS FOR SAVING OUR SEATS! hahahaha” And I’m thinking, if anyone had to walk in here, why a loud guy…? WHY? Then the wife took a turn into my row, and she said “We like the railing seats too, sorry!”. And she sits 3 seats away from me, and instead of the guy sitting on the other side, he takes the seat 2 away from me. So there are 3 people in the theater, and I’m basically sitting next to someone. Then the guy busts out a box of raisinettes and started slinging the box back and forth very loudly. Then he turned to me, before his wife I might add, and asked ME if I wanted any candy… Now a stranger is offering me raisinettes! I looked at him confused, and said “No?”… Then the Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark trailer played and at the end when the monster thing shows up he goes “THAT LOOKS LIKE MY BROTHER, hahahahaha”, and looked over at me, then his wife… Dude, I’m not here for a crappy stand up comedy act, seriously.
Then the next trailer started and three teenager/college kids walked in. A whole theater to sit in. They sit RIGHT BEHIND ME. This can’t be happening. Guy to my left is still telling jokes, and the guy behind me ended up kicking the back of my seat twice during the movie. But wait! Right as the opening credits were rolling on the actual movie, another person strolled in! And he sat TWO SEATS TO MY RIGHT! WHAT IS THE MENTALITY HERE?!?!
So I went from sultan of the private screening, to this MS Paint recreated scenario in a matter of 10 or so minutes. (I’m the red dot):
What a joke.
But anyway, the movie itself… Pretty lame. If you don’t know what Devil’s Double is, it’s about Uday Hussein and the guy he forced to be his body double against his will. Both Uday and the double are played by the same actor, Dominic Cooper. It’s a situation where a normal guy is forced to hang out with a crazy dictator-type until he can escape. So it’s basically The Last King of Scotland, but not as good a production. The cinematography is uninteresting, and the music score is pretty awful. Not to mention it goes on and on, running about 35 minutes too long.
The story is essentially a series of events of Uday acting crazy, killing people, sexually assaulting young girls… Basically a bunch of scenes that made me feel bad, because Uday is such an unforgivable tool. Then the double says something like “Hey, this is wrong”, and Uday says “I love you brother!” and a gunfight breaks out or something. Also shoehorned in there is a ridiculously unnecessary love triangle with one of Uday’s harlots. Hey man, rule #1 of Uday’s palace – Don’t sleep with Uday’s women… Why break that rule immediately, dummy? She was such an uninteresting character too, brought nothing to the story, and did nothing to benefit the other character’s development. It was so thin and forced in there, it was the cinematic equivalent of pushing a handful of Playdough through a spaghetti strainer.
Dominic Cooper was not THAT impressive when I looked at each character’s performance individually. But then I recognize he’s really playing both ends of the spectrum here. Playing both the loud psychotic prick Uday, and the stoic thoughtful body double, in the same scenes. In that respect, it makes me think that he actually did a really great job. Everyone else, not so much.
It has some flashes of violence and plenty of implications of sexual assault, most of which are more uncomfortable than usual because this is based on a true story. Quite in fact, much like the people surrounding me in the mostly empty theater, if there’s one word to describe The Devil’s Double, it would be uncomfortable. Uncomfortable mayhem, uncomfortable plot elements, and it runs uncomfortably long.
This could have been a better movie if they tightened it up, made Uday less cartoonish, and avoided so many cliché plot developments. The redeeming elements in this film (there are a few) don’t make it worth sitting through the whole thing. The comparisons to Scarface are greatly unjustified, in my opinion.
I would say avoid The Devil’s Double like you would avoid Uday at a discothèque.
4.5 out of 10