Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Movie Review - Duplicity

I was quite shocked that so many people seem to hate this movie, since I really enjoyed it. Oh well... I suppose it's payback for all the movies everyone else likes that I couldn't stand...

Anyway, what's Duplicity all about? Basically it's an espionage comedy thriller. Ray Koval (Clive Owen) works for the British Secret Service while Claire Stenwick (Julia Roberts) works for the CIA. Their first encounter was somewhat unfortunate for Ray, and he's been seeking payback ever since. Or has he? There's a definite attraction between them, though they can never seem to bring themselves to actually trust the other, such is the way their minds work. With both of them having infiltrated major companies and a spectacular new product announcement that will change the world market forever coming up, it's a game of cat and mouse... but there are a lot more(and bigger) cats out there than anyone had accounted for...

I can't go into the plot too much more because that could ruin the film for you; needless to say there are many plot twists, some of which I saw coming, some I didn't. I thought the plot was very good, making the most of a basic storyline that was actually fairly simple, but which came across as quite complicated due to good development of the various elements within it. Some people might get a bit confused by it, but most viewers should be okay.

The humour is key to Duplicity and I really enjoyed a lot of the dialogue and humour from plot elements. Clive Owen was very good (and he even smiled occasionally, something I've never seen him do in any other film!!), his dry style suiting the humour of the film. Julia Roberts I was less impressed with - there were times when her reaction to things definitely didn't fit in with her character. Some of the best scenes were the pair trying to keep one step ahead of each other, such being the nature of their work that they carried it over into their personal lives. The two rival bosses, played by Tom Wilkinson and Paul Giamatti, were good - Wilkinson in particular was impressive, and the rest of the supporting cast did a fine job. Denis O'Hare as head of ops for the team Ray was working for gave the stand out performance.

Though I enjoyed the movie it did have its failings, most notably Julia Roberts' performance in the first part of the film and the pacing slowing to almost a crawl about one third into the film. Other than that though I really enjoyed it with the directorial style (directed by Tony Gilroy) bringing to mind the 60s spy thrillers and James Newton Howard's quirky music score adding to the atmosphere considerably.

Obviously not everyone will like it but I found it to be an intelligently-written, well acted comedy spy thriller and thoroughly enjoyed it.

Rated PG-13 for language and some sexual content

Duplicity reminded me somewhat of an earlier Julia Roberts film where she and Nick Nolte played rival news reporters - I Love Trouble.

CaptainD - Movie Reviews Blog


Michelle said...

I've never seen the original "Escape to Witch Mountain (1975)"

This was, to me, the most shocking part of your post! You MUST see it! Although, to be honest it probably seems so good to me now because I view it through a nostalgia-coated haze.

Your take on this one is more promising than some, so maybe I'll check it out.

CaptainD said...

Hey Michelle!

Look, it was before my time... but I might get round to watching it!

Thanks for stopping by :-D

CaptainD said...

Incidentally your comment was about the movie below not Duplicity, but I'll let you off!

Michelle said...

Yeah, I figured that out after the fact...