Friday, April 10, 2009

Duplicity (Rhoades)

“Duplicity” Is Spy vs. Spy

Reviewed by Shirrel Rhoades

Back in 1968 I was Steve McQueen’s guest at the world premiere of “The Thomas Crown Affair.” The movie’s use of split screen images was dazzling, quite innovative for the time. Director Norman Jewison utilized these multiple images to build suspense and create a sense of excitement in this classic twists-and-turns caper film.

Watching “Duplicity” – the Clive Owen-Julia Roberts caper film that’s now playing at the Tropic Cinema – I had a sense of déjà vu as I watched its use of split screens.

This is a spy vs. spy storyline, where a CIA agent and an MI6 operative join forces to scam the corporate world out of $35 million, instigating a complex scheme to steal a top-secret cosmetic formula.

The plot can be confusing if you blink, flashing back and forth in time sequence, a cinematic device to keep you guessing. You practically get whiplash trying to keep up.

“Duplicity” is a good description of this tale of double and triple agents.

Something of a cross between “Mr. And Mrs. Smith” and “Swordfish,” it plays out like one of those “Oceans Eleven” movies.

Owen and Roberts don’t seem much different than their co-starring turn in “Closer.” He’s stoic, but flappable. She grim, but loveable. However, the question lingers: Who’s playing whom in this cat-and-mouse game?

So how was the movie? A little too clever perhaps. But I have to confess I enjoyed the ride.
Written and directed Tony Gilroy, the same guy who gave us “Michael Clayton,” this is a movie whose watchword is to trust no one. Perhaps not even film critics.
[from Solares Hill]

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