I knew this was going to be at the very least a decent film. I had no idea it was going to be such an impressive film. Netflix typically pops out the bottom of the barrel, high dollar action films with well known names. You give a film a simple enough premise for action and throw some money behind it and for the most part the masses will leave smiling. And while The Devil’s Double is an amazing story, it’s the talent behind this film that gives it such a full bodied flavor. The talent of Dominic Cooper to play such diverse characters, the maturity of violence and authenticity that the director captures in Uday, and the intimate feel delivered by smooth editing and beautiful pacing deliver such a gem it’s hard not to leave satisfied.
There are a handful of things that make this film interesting as well as unique. From an artist’s standpoint, Dominic Cooper is flawless. Since the story follows a body double, the casting demands one man playing two very different roles. Uday Hussein is power hungry and self obsessed and his hired double, Latif Yahia, is giving, gentle, and sacrificial. The tension here is that the two characters are completely dependent on one another. Uday needs Latif to play a “human shield” so that he can essentially (or absolutely) get away with murder. Latif is always at the mercy of entertaining Uday otherwise he runs the risk of endangering his family. Watching the struggle between the two is fascinating as the characters continue to push the boundaries of one another. Uday seeing how far he can go before he presses his luck and Latif doing his best to restrict any action or uprise in order to protect the ones he loves.
I will warn that this is a very mature movie. Even in the delivery of violence. It’s not your simple “bang bang” and blood stained button downs. In order to capture the insanity that exists in Uday, you are going to have to sit through a handful of uncomfortable moments. However, any moment that provokes emotion – especially a feeling of disgust or discomfort – is always welcomed in my books. If it were easy to invoke emotion, everyone would be doing it all of the time. The Devil’s Double captures an insanity so well developed I have to recommend this film.