Saturday, 25 July 2009

Duplicity: A Short Review


Duplicity is the sophomore effort from Tony Gilroy, the director and writer of the successful Oscar nominated Michael Clayton. Before I continue, I will say that Duplicity suffered from bad advertising. From the previews and the trailers Duplicity seemed to be a romantic comedy with some smartness, but it actually was a smart movie with a little comedy. I’m sure many women [and men] left the theatres just a little chagrined For the record, I did not like Michael Clayton very much. I think I rated it somewhere in the low Bs, but I did not understand why all the critics were going absolutely gaga over it. But as usual I am digressing. Back to Duplicity, or Closer II, as some would like to call it.

Duplicity is an interesting movie, to say the least. If I were to give a synopsis of it it would probably read similar to Prizzi’s Honor, or Mr & Mrs Smith, but it’s not a remake or a reinterpretation of either film. It tells the story of two persons Ray and Claire– spies we’ll call them. The meet at a Fourth of July party, he hits on her, she is not amused...or is she? They have sex, nothing groundbreaking. She leaves before he wakes, just after she searches his hotel room.

Not to be hard on the movie, because I like it, but there are times when it’s trying way too hard. This happens a lot during the middle of the movie. Gilroy throws in twist after twist and it’s almost as if he’s just trying to hoodwink us, just for the sake of having a big surprise. I would hope that you’ve seen Duplicity by now, but in case you haven’t I won’t include any spoilers. Anyhow, after trick after trick Julia and Clive finally come to their conclusion both professionally and personally.

I enjoyed Duplicity. I felt that the second half was very much better than the first. Gilroy tried to pack us too full of information in the first half so that we’re unable to relax, but as it winds down and less information becomes pertinent the audience manages to have some. As with any film of this nature the strength often lies in the script. The script for Duplicity is quite good, and generally I think it supersedes Michael Clayton in its fluidity. The one liners that they provide the cast [especially Julia Roberts] with are priceless. Speaking of Julia Roberts it’s nice seeing her back in comedy. This will always be her forte, so to speak. Even though Erin Brockovich was not exactly a comedy it had that same drollness of Duplicity which Julia always excels at...and what’s more she is still gorgeous doing it. Clive Owen is a good match for her. Although sometimes you feel she’s leading him the tables turn and we realise that he plays the game quietly and she’s more aggressive. It’s good stuff.

The supporting cast do not get the opportunity to shine as much but I will say that I was impressed with Kathleen Chalfant who plays an older spy who knows a lot more than she lets on. Duplicity is a good film, ignore the crazy IMDB subscribers labelling it as one of the worst of all times. Pure nonsense. Sometimes it can be a little smug, but it's still well worth your times. It's out on DVD by now in many countries so if you like comedy with action and a little romance, this is for you.


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4 comments:

RC said...

I hope to see more Tony Gilroy --- I'd like to see what else he has in him.

Amelia said...

For reasons I don't fully understand, I actually liked Michael Clayton a lot. This movie sounds really interesting.

Douglas Racso said...

i liked this movie. it was superbly written

anahita said...

I had this huge crush on clive owen when I watched this (lol) so I absolutely LOVED it. But, you know, thinking unhormonally, I still have to say it was a pretty brilliant film in its genre. It was sharp, witty and everything fitted so well. I agree with you, the twists were big and often, but I managed to understand it all (doesn't often happen :P) so I felt it worked. xxx