Two ex-government agents turned rival industrial spies have to be at the top of their game when one of their companies prepares to launch a major product. However, they distract each other in more ways than one.
Ray works for MI6, Claire for the CIA. She burns him in Dubai. Jump ahead five years: he sees her in Grand Central and confronts her. Both now work in industrial security for corporate giants whose CEOs hate each other. Flashbacks fill us in: is it coincidence that he sees her in Grand Central? In about a week, one of the firms is going to announce a revolutionary product. Under the guise of helping that corporation's rival, can Ray and Claire work their own theft and find an independent buyer? To work together, using the corporate rivalry to their advantage, they would have to trust one another - difficult, if not impossible. Or, is one playing the other?Written by
Despite all the plot twists Duplicity was shot in less than 80 days. See more »
In the beginning of the movie, the captioning says they are at the US Consulate in Dubai, but they are actually at the One & Only Ocean Club Resort on Paradise Island in the Bahamas. The consulate in Dubai is a skyscraper, not the villa we see. See more »
Set in the high-stakes world of corporate espionage, this is a film built on the interplay between writer/director and viewer. It jumps from the present to flashbacks repeatedly, every time revising the viewer's understanding of present-day action.
There is ambiguity in the intentions of Ray (Clive Owen) and Claire (Julia Roberts), rival agents who join forces, it seems, to pull off a big payday. This is a romance between two people who never trust anyone. Is such a thing possible? The film keeps us guessing as each flashback adds another layer of understanding, in effect rewriting the story.
One must pay attention to follow the narrative as it twists, turns, and doubles back on itself, but the payoff is worth it.
One of my favorite things about this film is the music. The film credits James Newton Howard, who has a nearly-endless list of compositional accomplishments. The accompaniment to the opening credits of this film is a good indication of what is to come musically.
Much like "The Thomas Crown Affair", comedy is interwoven with the drama in an enjoyable way. A strong cast, well directed, keeps things just light enough that the drama is not undercut.
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