The Devil's Double
Yahia (Dominic Cooper), an Iraqi soldier from an upper-class family, is
called upon to become a ďfedaiĒ (ďbody doubleĒ or political
decoy) for Uday Hussein (also played by Cooper), the playboy son of
Saddam Hussein (Phillip Quast). After initially refusing the position,
Latif Is imprisoned and tortured and ultimately gives in when he family
is threatened with death. Undergoing minor cosmetic surgery to perfectly
resemble Uday, dressing the same and even wearing prosthetic teeth -
Latif finds himself thrown into a world of riches, violence and cruelty,
all the while trying to resist this life of a man whoís volatile,
erratic and unhinged nature, while also being forced to impersonate him
Cooperís performances are what makes this film. On one hand, he plays
Uday Hussein - rich, powerful and fanatical. Cooper plays him larger
than life, almost like a cartoon. His actions are so over-the-top and
reprehensible, but it feels true to what we know. On the other, he plays
Latif Yahia - a quiet, patriotic soldier and loving son who plans to
take over his fathers business after the war. He finds himself thrown
into this situation of having to impersonate a madman, while trying to
stay himself. Cooper plays it perfectly with Latif, forced into a
situation he doesnít want to be in, only doing it because he is made to.
You see his struggle, trying to stay true to who he is, trapped in this
situation that he has no control over. It really is great to watch.
Tamahori, Director of the films; Once were Warriors, The Edge and Die
another Day, brings a really great flair and style to the film,
recreating the look and feel of late 80ís Iraq, along with Udayís
palaces, with all the over-the-top gold and decadence weíve seen on news
reports and documentaries for years. The film feels a lot like an Iraqi
version of Scarface, with a similar, tone, style and feel, though
it will never be that film, this stands on itís own legs for what it is,
while sharing a similar sense and style.
picture quality is flawless! Itís amazing how good this film looks. From
the beautiful, vibrant gold of Udayís palace, to the picturesque,
rolling sand dunes of Iraq, framed by the setting sun. Itís one of the
very best blu-ray transfers that I have ever seen and Iíve seen many!
The audio is fantastic too. A particular scene that comes to mind is a
club scene earlier in the first half of the film, as our characters walk
into the club, with a wealth of colour, spotlights framing people on the
dance floor, colourful outfits from the 80ís, all to the sound of
Dead or Aliveís - You spin me around. It really is a standout
in all regards, pieced together perfectly!
Devilís Double really is an interesting piece, one that I can with
all honesty say I enjoyed more than I thought I would. Itís violent and
unflinching, with amazing production values and two central performances
from one actor who is to be praised for the polar opposite performances
he has put onscreen for us to enjoy!