‘Duplicity’ is an enormously entertaining Hollywood escapade, cramming in enough upscale locations, narrative switchbacks and romantic intrigue to keep an audience rapt. But there’s a sneaking suspicion we’ve seen this before: James Newton Howard’s overbearing beats ’n’ strings soundtrack is never more than David Holmes-lite, while both Owen and Roberts seem a little too at ease in this polished world of power suits and snappy repartee.
Gilroy directs with panache, drip-feeding plot details until the big picture emerges. It’s hardly a surprise when it does – this is the sort of film you’re obliged to second guess – but getting there is half the fun. The tension is expertly maintained, wringing maximum suspense out of the most mundane details (including, at one point, a nailbiting hunt for a photocopier). A shame, then, that Gilroy couldn’t have found a way to make us care about these characters: both the leads are so guarded and manipulative, they leave a gaping emotional hole where the heart of this otherwise excellent comic caper ought to be.