Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Review: Duplicity

Grade: B

Duplicity is a great movie about a former CIA agent, Claire Stenwick (played by Julia Roberts), and a former MI-6 agent, Ray Koval (played by Clive Owen), who have a past together, team up to pull off the ultimate con on two corporation owners. At first look, as in the trailers they've been playing, this movie looks like a typical Julia Roberts romantic comedy but with a spy twist. This is wrong. This movie does not play out at all like the trailers want you to believe. I wish I could say more about the plot of the movie but there are so many twists and turns that I don't want to risk giving any of it away because it was simply brilliant. However, I will say that Stenwick and Koval work for two different corporations that are bitter rivals. So much so that each company has a counterintelligence department. These departments look like serious government spies with great technology and most of the people working in these departments used to be actual spies and everybody takes their jobs seriously. The best part about all of this is that these corporations are not some government contracted munitions company, no, they are soap and shampoo companies, this just makes the movie even funnier.

This movie was very well written, the dialogue is very smart and the story will keep you thinking until the very end. Filled with clever and witty dialogue this Duplicity does not disappoint. Although the constant "I don't trust you and that makes you not trust me" thing did get old at one point. Some of the best parts are the scenes with the two executives played by Paul Giamatti (Sideways, Shoot Em' Up) and Tom Wilkinson (RocknRolla, Michael Clayton). These two characters are so paranoid and hate each other so much that at one point they end up brawling on an airport tarmac.

Clive Owen was fantastic as usual as the sharp and quick witted Roy Koval. Julia Roberts was surprisingly tolerable and actually enjoyable in Duplicity as an untrustworthy yet resourceful and effective Claire Stenwick, getting away from her usual annoying rom-com character and acting style. As I mentioned, Paul Giamatti and Tom Wilkinson were superb as the corporate execs. The rest of the supporting cast did a great job as well.

This movie was a nice escape from the usual stuff that Hollywood has been putting out lately that give every detail right off the bat and play off typical movie cliché after typical movie cliché. It was a fantastic script that actually makes the audience think and definitely keeps them guessing, I know I was surprised by the ending and that doesn't happen often.

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