The Devil’s Double is hands down one of the best films I’ve seen all year and come the end of December when I look back on the year to make my best of list, you can be sure The Devil’s Double will find its way into one of the top spots.
Both haunting and chilling, The Devil’s Double is a fantastic film that features a central performance so compelling, you’d be foolish to look away even for a second. Taking on a massive challenge, Dominic Cooper plays two characters in this true (although highly fictionalized) story.
On one hand we have Uday Hussein, son of Saddam Hussein and a complete maniac in every sense of the word. Uday is a man living in his own world, one where morals and rules don’t exist. One where society and any other individual but him don’t matter and aren’t important. He is blinded by his megalomania and he sees himself as a God-like figure. All that being said, he is also an utterly fascinating character and one that is impossible to take your eyes off of. The man is a dangerous psychopath and an absoute nut case.
Then on the other hand we have Latif Yahia, who went to school with Uday. Latif is special though as he happens to look almost identical to Uday. But that’s where the similarities end. While Latif bears a striking resemblance to the deranged Prince, he is a completely different person at heart. For one, he has morals.
Aside from that, he is grounded, he has a good heart and he is a kind man. In all truthfulness, he couldn’t be any different from Uday, the two are complete opposites. But, he does look almost the exact same as Uday and so, he is asked to be Uday’s body double. Actually, the word ‘ask’ implies that he had a choice. Let me rephrase that, Latif is forced into being Uday’s body double.
The film itself is told from Latif’s point of view as it is based on his life story. It depicts the relationship between the two men and their time spent together. We watch as Latif is groomed for the role and is forced to change everything about himself so that he can best resemble Uday, not only in appearance but in mannerisms, expressions, speech etc.
As the innocent Latif is pulled further into Uday’s twisted and sadistic world, he realizes that he can’t continue on like this and he must escape this demented nightmare before it’s too late. There’s just one problem, Uday doesn’t want to let him go. And if there’s one thing you don’t want to do, it’s going against the orders of an utter lunatic, who just also happens to be the son of Saddam Hussein.
Click here to continue reading our theatrical review.
The Devil’s Double arrives on Blu-Ray with a very strong transfer. The level of crispness is shockingly good, especially considering the film’s budget. It’s a clean and sharp picture the whole way through.
The golden hue that covers the film sometimes becomes a bit too obtrusive, obscuring finer details. Aside from that though, things look great. The lavish production design is breathtaking at times and this is really an all around excellent effort. That being said, a few not so great visual effects pop in here and there but you’d have to really be looking to spot them. The average viewer likely won’t even notice.
When it comes to audio, both the score and soundtrack are excellent and sound fantastic here. In fact, the 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio comes through well in all areas. Explosions rock your speakers while bullets whiz by with precise and accurate effects. Dialogue is clear and placed appropriately and like the video, it’s impressive considering how low the film’s budget was.
Special features include the following:
- “True Crime Family” (HD, 16:10) – An all too brief featurette looking at Saddam and his two sons. It’s interesting but far too short. A nice hour documentary on the real story behind the film would have been appreciated.
- “Double Down with Dominic Cooper” (HD, 8:46) – Another all too brief featurette. It explores how Dominic Cooper pulled off the double role. Interesting but once again, too short. We see the different make-up effects, CGI effects, body double effects etc that helped the actor achieve his task.
- “The Real Devil’s Double” (HD, 7:44) – This is where we get to see the real Latif Yahia as he speaks about the film. It’s kind of funny that they include this feature as at the end of the film they claim that Latif is a hard man to find and is supposedly in hiding. I guess that wasn’t entirely true?
- Audio Commentary – Features director Lee Tamahori and isn’t the greatest listen. It would have been nice to hear from Cooper as well since he’s the one who really carries the film and makes it so great.
At the end of the day, this is really a great film and one of my favorites from 2011, thus far. Special features aside, the Blu-Ray itself is very pleasing and one that I’m happy to own. With a box office gross of only a couple million, it’s safe to say that not many people saw this film during its theatrical run. If you’re one of those people, I highly suggest checking it out now that it’s on Blu-Ray. Cooper’s powerful performance alone is worth the price of the disc. And when you mix it with the compelling story that backs it up, it makes for a truly excellent film.
The Devil's Double is a fascinating, gripping and compelling film that features Dominic Cooper giving what is undoubtedly one of the year's best performances.