Hoorah! Time to start mythologizing the reign of Saddam Hussein! The Devil’s Double has arrived! Whoa, that Uday Hussein was a psycho, huh? But he knew how to party, amirite? Man, it was like Scarface in the desert over there, a real Baghdad and Gomorrah. Cocaine, guns, designer suits, sports cars, Rolexes, nearly naked women lounging around the pool, torture on demand ... the fun never ended, it seems. Woo-hoo!
If you’ve been waiting to see the excesses and bone-deep corruption of Baghdad under Saddam Hussein done up gold-plated, Jersey Shore-tacky style, wait no more. It’s all about Uday here, the insane son of Saddam Hussein, but never fear: You won’t be asked to truly appreciate the nightmare, just revel in it. Director Lee Tamahori plays Uday’s sadism less like a horror show and more like the larks of a spoiled rich kid that just go a bit too far. Rumor has it that the film downgrades Uday’s psychopathy, which can surely have been only to make it more “entertaining.” It wouldn’t do to have us truly sickened when there’s some good old-fashioned debauchery to drink in.
The only reason to see this pointless flick is for Dominic Cooper, who is absolutely astonishing in dual roles as Uday and Latif Yahia, a poor, kind soldier who is drafted to be Uday’s double, for security purposes. He so transforms himself from one role to the other that he manages to look completely different, despite the fact that he is meant to be portraying two men so similar that they can pass for each other. The warmth and humanity in Latif’s eyes and in his body language is a startling contrast to the soulless ice of Uday. Cooper is downright thrilling to watch. It’s genuinely a shame that the rest of the film is so cheap and tawdry that it overshadows even this marvelous work.
THE DEVIL’S DOUBLE
Dominic Cooper, Ludivine Sagnier, Raad Rawi