7.1/10
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128 user 167 critic

The Devil's Double (2011)

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A chilling vision of the House of Saddam Hussein comes to life through the eyes of the man who was forced to become the double of Hussein's sadistic son.

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2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Munem
Philip Quast ...
Saddam Hussein / Faoaz
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Ali (as Mimoun Oaissa)
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Yassem Al-Helou
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Azzam
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Latif's Father
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Said
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Saad
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School Girl (as Amrita Acaria)
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School Girl 2
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Bride
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Storyline

Baghdad, the playground for the rich and infamous, where anything can be bought - but for a price. This is Uday Hussein's world and with his depraved lust for debauchery and immorality, he helps himself to whatever turns him on. When army lieutenant Latif Yahia is summoned to Saddam's palace, he is faced with an impossible request - to be Uday's 'fiday' - his body double, or have his family condemned to death. In a world entrenched in betrayal and corruption, knowing who to trust becomes a matter of life or death for Latif, as he battles to escape from his forced existence. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

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Play the part or suffer the consequences See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong brutal bloody violence and torture, sexual content, graphic nudity, drug use and pervasive language | See all certifications »

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Details

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Release Date:

8 September 2011 (Netherlands)  »

Also Known As:

Đavolji dvojnik  »

Filming Locations:

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Box Office

Budget:

€15,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$96,414 (USA) (29 July 2011)

Gross:

$1,357,042 (USA) (23 September 2011)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

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2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

A very long list of sources have challenged Yahia's claims, including a former palace guard, one of the Hussein family's surgeons, a CIA officer, and at least two of Uday's confidantes. One of the latter claimed Yahia was nothing more than a lookalike who used his resemblance to pick up women. See more »

Goofs

When Latif arrives in Malta, the camera pans across the harbour of Valletta with a large cargo ship entering. Behind the cargo ship is sail yacht Maltese Falcon, easily visible. This yacht was built in 2006. Just around the corner from Maltese Falcon is another large motor yacht of a similar age. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Azzam: [to Latif] Hey.
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Connections

Referenced in The Real Devil's Double (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

Jesus for the Jugular
Written by Finn Andrews
Performed by The Veils
Licensed Courtesy of Rough Trade Records Limited.
By Arrangement with Beggars Group Media Limited
Published by Bug Music
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User Reviews

A must-watch for Cooper's performance alone, but expect to be troubled as well as thrilled throughout.
18 August 2011 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

The posters for director Lee Tamahori's The Devil's Double (18) declare it to be "Scarface of Arabia", referring both to Brian De Palma's 1983 gangster opus Scarface and the film's setting during Saddam Hussein's brutal rule in Iraq. The Devil's Double is based on the true story of Latif Yahia, an Iraqi soldier chosen by the regime to be the body-double of the dictator's infamous son Uday, with both roles played by Dominic Cooper.

The perks of the job are acceptable: enough designer clothing and willing women to make the average Premiership footballer looking like a trappist monk. However, the downsides are considerable too: torture, being shot at – and the fact that the penalty for seeking alternative employment is the death of Latif's entire family.

Dominic Cooper stars in Devil's Double with Ludivine Sagnier.

Dominic Cooper stars in Devil's Double with Ludivine Sagnier.

It is easy to see why The Devil's Double has been compared to a gangster film. All the whirring, terrifying madness of Uday's world is depicted with the brutal verve one finds in Scarface and other films of its ilk. Instigating nightclub orgies while American bombs are exploding and shooting at loyal companions in psychotic rages are all part of Uday's regular routine.

The direction, intermingling footage of Operation Desert Storm with debauchery, captures the craziness of Uday and Latif's world with a lurid style.

Again, like a great underworld film, Cooper's performance as the central villain is masterful, capturing Uday's menacing madness and chewing the scenery in between sucking breasts or shovelling cocaine up his nose. His performance as Latif is equally striking, but in a more nuanced way. We are never in doubt which one Cooper is portraying; his sickened desperate body language showing through even when Latif is Uday.

Yet this film is not Scarface, and Uday is not Tony Montana. Tony Montana, like most anti-heroes found in films depicting criminals, had a form of morality. It may have been a twisted, cocaine-fuelled morality but it was one none the less. Uday has no morality; worse than that, he's evil even by the standards of his father, a man who thought nothing of gassing entire ethnic groups. This gives the film a heart of darkness. Uday is possibly one of the most horrifying characters ever to grace a cinema screen, proving it at regular harrowing intervals with crimes of a scarcely believable depravity.

This leads me to the film's central flaw. Despite Cooper's performance, Latif's story never quite feels as compelling as it should be. The script at times makes a good man's forced descent into hell on Earth seem more like a mob underling's troubled conscience upon witnessing his boss go too far. One scene, which directly juxtaposes his actions in saving others from Uday's horrors, doesn't have anywhere near the emotional resonance it should. One gets a sense that in trying to show us a world in which a moral compass is more likely to be thrust into the genitals of an innocent than providing any sort of guidance, the film has lost some of its humanity along with its protagonists.

Despite these flaws, though, The Devil's Double is still an excellent film. It is a brave attempt to portray a difficult and scarcely believable story. Even its failure to completely emote is understandable given the skill with which it presents its harrowing world. Due to this, and possibly the performance of the year from Dominic Cooper, its flaws are eminently forgivable.

Verdict: ●●●● A must-watch for Cooper's performance alone, but expect to be troubled as well as thrilled throughout.

Read more reviews on www.theupcoming.co.uk


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