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Duplicity Review


Duplicity wants to be a good movie, there’s a good story there, there’s great acting, good drama, good comedy, but it is its deliberate attempt at confusing their viewers that ultimately drives this movie to it’s own demise.

My rating 3.0 Stars

Once in a while you run across a movie that you hated while others really enjoyed it and you wonder, how is that even possible? If a movie is good then everyone should like it, right? Okay, it isn’t that simple. Everyone has different tastes and there is a collection of different types of movies for everyone. So it’s alright that you hate this movie and others like it. Believe it or not, you are not alone in this scenario. Even within movie critics, professionals or not, you see disagreements like these. However, what does that mean for the movie? I often wonder if and when such disagreements between critics occur, is the movie really that good?

If a movie gets 20% on Rotten Tomatoes, it is obvious that it is a bad movie. Even if I like it, it is still a bad movie. By the way, it is no big deal to like bad movies, no one will judge you, but I digress. The opposite is also true, if a movie gets over 80% on Rotten Tomatoes, it is obvious that it’s a good movie. Again, just because I didn’t like it, doesn’t make that movie a bad one. However, when something is down the middle, it is more difficult to judge.

Duplicity is one of those movies that got around 60% on Rotten Tomatoes, why? Because there are some redeeming qualities to the film, however it was not enough for everyone to like it. The acting is great; the interactions between Clive and Julia are very entertaining and sometimes comical. You really get the sense that these people love and hate each other. Since they are spies and it is in the nature of spies not to trust people, they just can’t trust each other. They are constantly trying to guess what the other is thinking and they are constantly accusing each other of trying to sabotage one another. In that sense, the movie was pretty funny and enjoyable. What I didn’t like, what most people didn’t like about this film is that they purposely keep things so complicated that you need to be a spy yourself in order to understand what the hell was going on. I was lost throughout the film, and I was not alone.

Duplicity is like no other film I have ever seen. It is about two spies (Clive Owen and Julia Roberts) who meet by chance in Dubai. They hook up and they do the “nasty.” Except that Julia’s character decides to drug him up, steal the documents he worked so hard to get, and left the poor guy in bed empty handed with only a fond memory of her. Two years later or five years later, who the hell knows, Clive’s character, by pure dumb luck finds her again and this time he confronts her about it, but he still likes her—what an idiot! They hook up again, can you believe it? I guess men really are idiots! However, this time, they hatch up a plan to scam some serious money so that they could retire early and be with each other.

It sounds interesting and it would have been if they had kept the audience in the loop about what the hell was going on. They chose not to and they lost my interest. I am sorry, but confusing your audience is not a nice thing to do. Irony is one thing, a twist is one thing, switching gears with no real purpose every 15 minutes is just plain stupid.

With all that said, the movie is not a total waste. There are some really good, solid performances not only from Clive and Julia, but also from Paul Giomatti and Tom Wilkinson, the CEO’s that both Clive and Julia are trying to scam. The secondary story line in this movie was a lot more interesting than the main. I enjoyed watching the two rival companies at each other’s throats as they competed and spied over one another. The film is worth watching just for that.

Categories: 2009 Movie Reviews
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