Saturday, June 2, 2012

Movie: The Devil's Double (2011)

(Disclaimer: My posts on books and movies are more reactions than proper reviews.)  

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The Devil's Double is loosely based on the true story of Latif Yahia, a man hired as body double of Saddam Hussein's son, Uday. Latif is a simple soldier while Uday is a spoiled party boy. That's the simplest comparison. Uday is called 'The Devil': killed his father's assistant in a party, raped minors picked off schools, gets a deadly rage when angered that there's a body count right after. Even Saddam told him, "I wish I killed you when you were born."

Latif is chosen after a war and taken to a plastic surgeon to make him look exactly as Uday. They already know each other, both had been classmates in elementary and others often comment on how similar they look. Latif resists at first but agrees after being tortured and his family threatened. Uday will stop at nothing to get what he wants. Latif is told to 'kill' himself -- his family thinks he's dead anyway -- and BE from now on Uday Saddam Hussein.

Being the son of Iraq's dictator has its perks: he gets to live in opulence, he can wear expensive wardrobe, everything for Uday is free to him. The downside is bloody. Latif will go to events as Uday, and the number of attempted killings for the prince during Latif's stint says that a body double is really needed. In contrast to Uday's careless debauchery, Latif gets in the act as the responsible son. Latif is the one who speaks to motivate the soldiers, he's skilled in combat and survived death threats, while the brat Uday will only call on his bodyguards at the first hint of danger.

My favorite scene was Latif looking at the mirror after being tortured, hating his face and fate, punching the mirror and slamming a door on the way out... spoofing Uday's tantrums. Of course, Latif tries his best to act like Uday. He hates Uday, but knows he can't do anything about it, or he'd be dead. One can only endure seeing too much uncontrolled insanity.
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Latif, Uday, and the mirror
The viewer will hate Uday and root for Latif. After all the brutality, the last scene when Latif finally gets his revenge is satisfying.

Dominic Cooper portrays both, and I laud him for his acting of such opposing characters. I first doubted if it was the same person. The actor says that he's been a bit schizophrenic during the shoot. The movie is a portrait of Uday Hussein's cruelty and its consequences, and how a simple guy stops him even it seemed impossible.

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This song from the soundtrack was played during a party scene, I thought it was an Iraqi "Right Round" but found out its the original song where Flo Rida got his catchy chorus. "You Spin Me Round (Like a Record)" by Dead or Alive, it makes me feel dizzy listening:

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