Damn, It's Cool to be a Dictator

The Devil’s Double ★★
(Belgium, 108 min.)
Dir. Lee Tamahori. Writ: Michael Thomas
Starring: Dominic Cooper, Ludivine Sagnier, Philip Quast.
The Devil’s Double is a catastrophically wasted opportunity. In this ripped from the headlines story about Latif Yahia, who served as a body double for Saddam Hussein’s deranged son Uday, The Devil’s Double diffuses the politics and intrigue of Gulf War era Iraq and instead favours a half-baked character study that merely sensationalizes a notorious monster. The result is a pointless Scarface wannabe. 

Dominic Cooper stars in a dual role as Latif and Uday. Despite the physical similarities, one can always tell the doubles apart since Cooper barely masks his British accent whilst rigidly playing Latif and he portrays Uday as an odd crossbreeding of Tijuana drug lord and Dustin Hoffman in Rain Man. The mediocrity of the personification of the film’s subjects repeatedly exposes the shallowness of the production. Like Cooper, the film relies on ticks and irks to satisfy the audience: blood and skin spew everywhere, but it does little to explore the terror of Saddam’s reign. Instead, it offers a glossy music-video aesthetic and depicts the bad boys in one party or another (none of which are political). Furthermore, all content of the war and George Bush Sr. appears only in montages of archival material. It all seems tacked on.
To further prove the shoddiness of The Devil's Double, you know a film is bad if French sexpot Ludivine Sagnier can’t even raise its pulse. Sure, Michelle Pfeiffer helped make Scarface more memorable, but as with everybody else involved in The Devil’s Double, the supporting players just push the thin material further into bargain bin territory. Like Uday’s himself, The Devil’s Double is stupid, meaningless, and instantly forgettable.