Wednesday, 22 May 2013

The Double: film review

The Double is a 2011 film, a spy thriller, which benefits from the appearance in the cast of two very bankable stars, Michael Douglas and Richard Gere. Douglas, whose part in the movie is smaller than Gere's, plays the boss of the CIA. Gere is a retired agent,Paul, who is called back from his quiet retirement for "one last job" when a senator has his throat cut. The killing has all the hallmarks of the work of a former Soviet assassin know as Cassius, who was thought to be dead.

Paul teams up with a young agent called Ben, played by Topher Grace, who is an expert on Cassius's methods. They go to question Brutus (one of Cassius's sidekicks, needless to say) who escapes from prison rather cleverly. However, Paul slits his throat, and it seems as though Paul is Cassius. Ben grows suspicious of him, and Paul, who has his own reasons for feeling some sympathy for Ben, tries to persuade Ben's wife to call off his investigation.

From there, the plot continues to twist and turn, and all in all, I found it enjoyable. Watching it, however, reminded me of a truly memorable movie, the highly suspenseful No Way Out. That film, starring Kevin Costner (not Gere, thanks JohnG for putting me right!)  was based on one of my favourite American crime novels, The Big Clock by Kenneth Fearing, and is even more ingenious than the book.

The Double is not in the same league, though I think it is better than some of the more negative reviews on Rotten Tomatoes would seem to suggest. The acting is good, and although the screenplay does contain one or two formulac elements, it works quite well. Worth watching, but if you get the chance to watch No Way Out (dated as some of its plot points are), I think you'll enjoy that more.


Anonymous said...

Martin - I agree with you that No Way Out is the better film. Still, as you say, although it's certainly not 'legendary film' material, The Double is quite watchable and I do like both Douglas and Gere in it.

JohnG said...

Hi Martin, I'm not sure which film you were thinking of but Richard Gere wasn't in No Way Out; it was Kevin Costner. An excellent film even so!
Sorry my first response to your excellent blog is a negative one.



Martin Edwards said...

Many thanks, Margot.
And thanks, John, for spotting my senior moment - I've duly corrected the post! Glad you like the blog.