Uday’s psychotic streak was too much even for Saddam, who relegated him to number two successor. In 1987 he summoned Latif, an old school friend with an uncanny likeness, and made him an offer: become my body-double or I’ll kill your family. Latif underwent plastic surgery so that not even the Hussein family could tell the two men apart (though, as Uday’s brother notes, you know you’re watching Latif on TV because, ‘He’s sober and he’s not foaming at the mouth.’)
What makes ‘The Devil’s Double’ unsettling is its tone. In places, Uday is played for laughs, introduced as a bucked-tooth, clownish mummy’s boy. But elsewhere, Tamahori doesn’t hold back from showing the worst of Uday’s depravity: we see him cruising schools, searching for barely pubescent girls to abduct. The result is a film which, in attempting to parade as a trashy soap opera supercharged on cocaine, is even more tasteless than its main character’s gold ’n’ marble palace.