A chilling vision of the House of Saddam Hussein comes to life through the eyes of the man who was forced to become the double of Hussein’s sadistic son.
Writers: Michael Thomas (Screenplay), Latif Yahia (Book)
Director: Lee Tamahori
Stars: Dominic Cooper, Ludivine Sagnier and Raad Rawi
Runtime: 109 Minutes
Popcorn Score: Large Popcorn with Butter
There are a lot of movies that you should not bring your young children to. The Devil’s Double is absolutely one of those movies. However, that is exactly what the family on the other side of the theater did when I went to see this terrifically brutal, bloody and disturbing gangster movie. (Yes that’s right, I said gangster movie, but I’ll get back to that in a bit.) Don’t get me wrong, I don’t really care what people do with their own kids. In this case, maybe this family’s three kids all under the age of 10 (I would suppose) have a tolerance beyond their years for brutal murders, drugs and rape scenes. Maybe it’s no big deal for them. But I really get annoyed when they are talking, and laughing and crying during all the murder, drug and rape scenes. All joking aside, it is are really awful movie for children of that age to see, and the parents finally realized that and left about an 1:20 minutes in…during the orgy scene.
Bad movie for children, amazing movie for adults! I re-watched it in the quite confines of my screening room (bedroom) and solidified my view of this being one of my favorite movies of the year. Although it was not marketed as such, I along with other people described it as the Scarface of the Middle East.
The movie is very loosely based on the true story of Latif Tahia (Dominic Cooper) who in the early to mid 90’s was forced to throw away his own life and be the “double” of the widely hated, morally deprived but unlimitedly powerful son of Saddam Hussein, Uday Hussein (Dominic Cooper). This man was evil to core yet had every single resource and unlimited money to do whatever he pleased. We see the transformation of Latif into Uday, changing everything from his cheek bone structure to his nose, teeth and height. We also see Latif who was forced at gunpoint change as a man who loves his county to a man who has nothing but disdain for Uday and the situation he has been forced into.
You read correctly above when I gave Dominic Cooper credit for both rolls. In a movie where one actor is needed to play two completely different personalities, Cooper delivers an Oscar worthy performance.
The character (and in real life) Uday Hussein is (was) an absolute psyco, truly insane, willing to abduct a bride on her wedding day and rape her, or kidnap and deflower school girls walking home, or brutally kill his father’s food taster in the middle of a dinner party. Cooper plays the over the top part to perfection, unfortunately stealing scenes from himself at times, when he is playing the much more mildly mannered Latif. The way the he plays the two juxtaposed from one another is truly incredible and so are the talents of director Lee Tamahori in his and his production team’s execution.
The entire movie is a thrill ride with parties and orgy’s and drugs and murders. It is a gangster movie at its absolute best and incredibly entertaining the whole way through. If I had to pick one part that didn’t work to perfection is the part of Sarrab, played by the French actress Ludivine Sagnier. First, I could tell she was not Arab from the start. I suspected she had blond hair, which took me out of it. (She does naturally) and also I just never got the impression that her character would be playing both sides the way she does. I thought that particular story line lacked some depth. An aspect of the movie that hardly breaks the movie though.
As I already said this will surely be one of my favorite movies of the year and I strongly recommend going out and renting it on Blu-ray… just don’t let your kids watch.
Large Popcorn with Butter.