The Devil’s Double is the first review from NetflixCritic.com and in the spirit of the name, we’re supplying you with DOUBLE the number of reviews in one article. Say hello to our two writers, Brian Alex Clark (creator of NetflixCritic.com) and Leo Chacon Rodriguez (plucky sidekick, the Robin to Brian’s Batman). They’ll be competing for your attention in the future, occasionally Doubling Up for reviews from time to time. So pick a side, hate the other, and Bella be damned. Here, for your reading pleasure, is The Devil’s Double… Reviews.
This movie could be fiction. Based on Latif Yahia’s second book by the same name, it accounts his time as Uday Hussein’s body double, something that has been disputed by close friends of Uday’s and CIA case officers alike. It’s an interesting thing to discover after having watched two hours of what you thought was fact. What isn’t fiction is this: Uday Hussein (played by Dominic Cooper), the eldest son of Saddam, was a spoiled kid driven crazy with power. His most popular pick up line in the movie is offering underage girls a ride and going so far as to use his protection detail to force them into his car. At one point he even takes the virginity of a woman–on her wedding day. He is without a doubt a monster, and no one in the movie thinks otherwise. So what happens when Uday enlists (aka forces) an old classmate Latif Yahia (also played by Dominic Cooper) to become his body double? Will Latif hold onto his humanity or become all too like the horrible man he is tasked with impersonating?
What separates The Devil’s Double from Adaptation (another movie that utilizes the one actor for to parts strategy) is one word: stakes. In Adaptation, the main character (played by Nicholas Cage) is a longtime writer that has to struggle with his next script while his twin brother takes up screenwriting as less than a hobby, but immediately strikes big. At every moment there seems to be something working against him, something he needs to struggle to overcome.
But in The Devil’s Double, as soon as Latif becomes Uday Saddam Hussein’s double, he stops caring, immediately making him the least interesting character in the movie. He doesn’t even fear death, at one point slitting his wrists to get out of killing a man. If a main character does not even desire to live, what does he have to live for?
I would have preferred to see this as a fictional miniseries instead of a biography. There could have been so many more interesting things to do with the main character. He could fight to stay good natured but as he lived in Uday’s shoes more and more, he would not be able to stop the inevitable transformation into his lesser half. And that is where this film fails: there is no question of identity. Good Dominic Cooper is Good Dominic Cooper and Bad Dominic Cooper is Bad Dominic Cooper. Latif begins by seeing Uday as a monster and his vision is never blurred, which is unfortunate. There are so many ways perspectives could have been played with, I am forced to look at films like The Black Swan and ask “what if they went this far?” Because based on the trailers, I went into this film thinking Latif would eventually make a power play to replace Uday permanently, ala the plot of the Hitman movie. But when we see Latif using a retainer to mimic Uday’s teeth, we suspect that will not be an option.
It’s unfortunate Dominic Cooper’s (up till this point) career making role is stuck in such a lackluster film. In terms of acting, it’s in a completely other league from what he did in Captain America: The First Avenger, another movie available on Netflix Instant Streaming. And yet this performance does not make his turn as Howard Stark seem any less talented.
If you have Netflix or are considering a 30-Day Free Trial, it won’t hurt your pocket to check out The Devil’s Double for Dominic Cooper’s performance. You’ll definitely keep an eye for him in future blockbusters after seeing this. But if you’re looking for something on par with Adaptation, where everything is firing on all cylinders, you’ll be unfortunately left wanting.
And don’t forget, the easiest way to stream Netflix is through the #1 Rated Netflix Streaming Device, the Roku, with a 30-Day Money Back Guarantee, just like Netflix.
The Devils Double tells the story of deranged playboy, Uday Hussein, son of Saddam Hussein, and his ‘fidei’ or Body Double (a dual role played by Dominic Cooper). The film beings with Latif Yahia, an Iraqi soldier fighting in the Iran-Iraq war who is offered with a propostition far from his position as a war fighter, taking part as Uday Hussein’s body double. At first Latif refuses Uday’s proposition which enrages Uday, leading him to be tortured and forced to work for Uday or else he and his family will be killed.
Latif reluctantly takes the job and becomes his double.
The film fulfills it’s premise as a firsthand account of the life of the sadistic son of Saddam while still giving enough time to explore the man held with the task of being his bullet catcher. The film could have done a better job at giving a more appealing look into Latif’s character, which is where the film kind of seems to slow down a bit, but the performance given by leading man Dominic Cooper is worth your time, which I believe to be the biggest highlight of this film. The film as a whole gives us all it has to show, with a lot of major scenes striking us like a gun to the head.
I myself enjoyed the film for what it was solely for the fact that it was exactly what I was expecting to get out of it. Although I will admit I wouldn’t spend money on the film, it has it’s moments and performances which is where I found most of it’s charm; but I’d consider this a solid rental. My partner Brian deserves most of the credit for using films such as Black Swan or Adaption as examples, giving a better understanding of the film. I look forward to seeing Cooper headline more mainstream films in the near future. If our reviews may not be enough, give a film a look see on Netflix, it’s worth the watch.
If you’re still on the fence about the The Devil’s Double, check out the trailer below.
Let us know what you thought about the film by clicking “reply” at the top of the article.
I wanted to give you links to the paperback and ebook as well, but the only one available is a used copy priced at $489.00 and the ebook simply does not exist! For now we’ll only be able to enjoy the cinematic version of the story. Hopefully the publishers get their act together and release another printing. They missed an opportunity for a good amount of sales to coincide with the theatrical release. #theymessedup