FIND MOVIES
Movie List
Loading ...
or
Find Theaters and Movie Times
or
Search Movies

Review: Duplicity

Let's just say that Gilroy is no Ernst Lubitsch when it comes to sophisticated, saucy effervescence. Or a Hitchcock, either.
By PETER KEOUGH  |  March 18, 2009
2.0 2.0 Stars


VIDEO: The trailer for Duplicity 

Like Steven Soderbergh in his Oceans series, Tony Gilroy seems to have decided to take a break from making serious movies like 2007's Oscar-nominated Michael Clayton and instead lighten up with a frothy heist film involving multiple deceits, triple- and quadruple-crosses, luxury settings, techy jargon, a goofy supporting cast, high stakes (millions of dollars) with no consequences (floor wax and shampoos instead of carcinogenic, environment-devastating poisons), and Julia Roberts. Gilroy also throws in a reverse chronology taking place in posh foreign locations (and Cleveland!) so as to mark the film as his own and conceal any narrative weaknesses.

Such an elaborate contrivance needs the frisson of two actors with sizzling chemistry — charismatic scene stealers with the kind of passion and attraction that ignite the screen. Duplicity boasts such a pair. Unfortunately, they are Tom Wilkinson and Paul Giamatti; they play the CEOs of rival corporations, and early on they demonstrate just how sensual two jowly, saliva-spewing mastodons in Italian suits look when they're whaling on each other in slow motion.

So much for the sexy stuff. Then there's Julia Roberts and Clive Owen. They play Claire and Ray, corporate spies hired by the two CEOs in their espionage war, a pair who are in cahoots with each other. Or are they? Sorry, I must have nodded off. At any rate, Roberts's emotional range stretches from bored annoyance to icy annoyance. Owen, on the other hand, dons a pair of horn-rimmed glasses and evokes Cary Grant as he flirts and has fun. This scene, however, is not with Roberts but with a frumpy corporate executive whom he seduces to obtain information.

Let's just say that Gilroy is no Ernst Lubitsch when it comes to sophisticated, saucy effervescence. Or a Hitchcock, either, since his thrilling climax involves a search for a Xerox machine. Let's hopes he's gotten Duplicity out of his system and will once again have Wilkinson barking out lines like "I am Shiva, the God of Death!" instead of pruning a bonsai tree.

  Topics: Reviews , Celebrity News, Entertainment, Movies,  More more >
| More


Most Popular
ARTICLES BY PETER KEOUGH
Share this entry with Delicious
  •   BUFFET DINING: THE 15TH BOSTON UNDERGROUND FILM FESTIVAL  |  March 19, 2013
    "Copraphagy" is a key word at this year's Boston Underground Film Festival at the Brattle.
  •   REVIEW: GINGER & ROSA  |  March 19, 2013
    Sally Potter likes to mess around with form and narrative.
  •   UNDERGROUND CINEMA: THE 12TH BOSTON TURKISH FILM FESTIVAL  |  March 12, 2013
    This year's Boston Turkish Film Festival includes works in which directors ponder the relationships between the secular and the religious, between men and women, and between destiny and identity.
  •   REVIEW: A GLIMPSE INSIDE THE MIND OF CHARLES SWAN III  |  March 12, 2013
    In Roman Coppola's sophomoric second feature (his 2001 debut CQ was promising), Charlie Sheen shows restraint as the titular asshole, a dissolute ad designer and solipsistic whiner who's mooning over the loss of his latest love.
  •   REVIEW: UPSIDE DOWN  |  March 14, 2013
    Had Ed Wood Jr. directed Fritz Lang's Metropolis , he couldn't have achieved the earnest dopiness of Juan Solanas's sci-fi allegory — nor the striking images.

 See all articles by: PETER KEOUGH