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 i... Read allTwo 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.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.
It does work though and writer/director Gilroy keeps it moving along well even if he is too close to his own material to be able to identify the problems within it. The basic plot is all well and good but the structure weakens it a bit. The multiple jumps back in time are supposed to inform us and/or add to the mystery but unfortunately they actually mostly serve to break-up the flow. It is not complex but the time shifting makes it feel more complicated than it actually is and makes it harder to follow because it breaks up the slick flow that the majority of it has. This is a shame because otherwise the film works well and it is only really the failure to pull off the structure that takes the shine off it.
And it is a "shine" because this is a film that has been polished in most regards. In itself it is what it appears to be – a glossy thriller with many little twists attempting to keep you from guessing the final reveal. It doesn't quite manage this as the ending is perhaps a little foreseeable after a certain point but mostly the sheen on it makes it flow. The direction is mostly very good with clever shots and fine delivery and editing to pull it together – in this type of thing that is much more than half the battle because sometimes that can be enough to fool viewers into buying the style when the substance stinks. That is not the case here as the substance is pretty good and the cast add the journey. Roberts didn't really convince me as she hasn't for a while (maybe she never did) but she is a Hollywood star through and through and she brings class to the film. Owen brings the rising star but, more importantly, the rugged charm that he does so effortlessly. Having Wilkinson and Giamatti only adds to the feeling of a quality product along with several good turns in smaller roles.
Duplicity is not a brilliant film but it is a good one within the context of the genre. The structure limits the slick appeal that it could have had and makes it a little less fun that it could have been but mostly all the packaging is in place and it does what you expect it to do as a genre film. Nothing to shout about from the rooftop by any means but for a Friday or Saturday night it delivers the sort of gloss that one goes to see these movies for and you gotta give it some credit for that in a period where so many star-led blockbusters fail to even do that.
- bob the moo
- Jul 17, 2009