A compelling insight into the broken mind of a monster.
Directed By: Lee Tamahori
Starring: Dominic Cooper, Ludivine Sagnier and Philip Quast
Release Date: 22 November 2011
Terrifying, insane and explosive are just a few words to describe Lee Tamahori’s film The Devil’s Double. The film stars Dominic Cooper as Uday Hussein, the eldest son of Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein. Cooper also plays the part of Latif Yahia, An Iraqi soldier of Kurdish origins who is ushered into Uday’s palace in order to become his body double. The film follows Latif through his initial reluctance to become the slave of an oppressor whom he detests and through his gradual compliance and training in the ways of ‘Husseinism’. The story concludes with Latif’s eventual betrayal and escape from the sadistically insane tyrant.
Despite having an immersive storyline, not to mention unrivalled special effects and prosthetics, what really makes this film worth watching is the skilfulness with which Cooper plays both roles. In more than a few instances it is possible to forget that both characters are played by the same actor. The scenes in which they appear together are truly marvellous pieces of cinema and are testament to both Cooper and Luis Carballar who edited the film.
After considering the many positive points in the film, it is hard to pick out something negative, but there is something. Throughout the film there is more than a hint toward a bizarre love triangle between Uday, Latif and one of Uday’s women. Sarrab, played by Ludivine Sagnier is one of Hussein’s favourite play things, but she prefers the imitation version. Initially Latif is unsure about acting on his urges toward Sarrab However after dismissing threats of torture, he goes for it. This eventually becomes problematic as Sarrab inexplicably helps Uday during Latif’s escape. This entire section of the film seems to be separate from the main story and does not aid the progression of narrative at all.
Words by Daniel Buckley.