Friday, January 20, 2012

My Amazon DVD Reviews: "The Devil's Double"

Dance With The Devil 
3 Out Of 5 Stars

Uday Saddam Hussein was the sadistic son of Saddam Hussein, and of Saddam's two sons, the craziest. Uday decides that, like his father, he needs a body double to protect himself from those who'd like to kill him. Soldier and former classmate of Uday, Latif Yahia, is picked for the job. When Latif initially declines, it is made more than clear that the offer is not a request. It's a life or death choice.

Based in the true story of Latif, "The Devil's Double" is a tale of what unchecked wealth, greed and sexual avarice can happen when the safety mechanisms are taken away. Uday had a taste for fast cars and young women, and he discarded them equally when he tired of them. Latif finds that even those close to Uday are wary and cautious of Saddam's son's appetites and savage behavior. The longer Latif remains ensnared by a man who announces at one point, "God doesn't give me anything, I take what I want," the more he falls into desperation. Which means that if Uday wants to watch videos of the men he's tortured and killed (graphically included in the film), he will and everyone around him will uneasily tolerate it. Latif knows he could be part of the next random cruelty...and likely will, eventually.

The most amazing thing about "The Devil's Double," aside from the bizarreness of the true story, is Dominic Cooper who plays Latif and Uday. Latif is troubled and fighting the person he's been forced to become, Uday is a raging id without conscious. Cooper digs into both roles with so much verve that it's tough to discern he is really playing both roles. Cooper heads up an international cast that includes Philip Quast in a surprisingly sympathetic portrayal of Saddam (and Saddam's double) and French actress Ludivine Sagnier as Sarrab, a troubled woman also caught between Uday and Latif. It's powerful and disturbing movie, and not easily forgotten.


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