Republican dogma or the next Scarface?
Frequently dubbed as this generation’s Scarface and with much Sundance hype earlier this year, The Devil’s Double has been snagged by Lionsgate and will soon (the release date is unknown) be coming to a theatre near you.
Set in Baghdad in 1987, army lieutenant, Latif Yahia (Dominic Cooper, An Education) is requested to become the body double Iraq’s Black Prince Uday Hussein. Based on his autobiography, Yahia is thrown into the extravagant life of the Hussein dictatorial dynasty, learning to walk, act and undergo surgery to effectively double as the powerful, and widely hated son of Sadam Hussein. A tall order for Cooper, as he portrayed both Uday and Yahia, often having to shoot the same scenes twice.
It exudes violence, sex, and power says John Lopez of Vanity Fair: “AK-47s firing every 5 seconds, outrageous orgies, and constant tension, as the double begins to resemble the devil himself.” Aware that it could initially be passed off as a static, gun-ridden melodrama, Lopez advises it’s actually the opposite, “in Tamahori’s hands, it’s an outrageous film that is a guilty pleasure.”
Though based on true events, due to the political sensitivities, you can’t help but wonder if there are underlying political intentions beneath the blood-soaked a film, released as the the Iraq War still looms. Sundance reviewers are suspicious, warning the film could easily be considered propaganda in favour of the Bush Administration’s presence in Iraq.
As The Film Stage’s Dan Mecca cautions, “it’s something like an edgy 9/11 joke, [a] celebration of one of America’s great villains and his insane son refuses to approach its taboo subject with any kind of weight or substance, opting instead for comedy in the face of this kind of terribleness.” As the Guardian notes, the film provoked a number of walkouts at its premiere at the Berlin Film Festival. Yet, Cooper maintains that the film is not about shock value: “some people might leave the cinema,” he says. “But the fact is this happened, and it underlines the true horror of what that man did.”
Either way, The Devil’s Double has taken on the challenge of portraying a true-life drama, tackling a taboo subject, and cutting it with an ‘80s gaudy, gangster drama feel. Overhyped or not, I’ll be staying turned for its mainstream reveal and come to my own conclusions. Stay tuned for our review (of what’s being said) and as always, we await yours as well.
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