A shoo-in for the 20th century's Most Horrible People Hall of Fame, Uday Saddam Hussein was reviled and feared even among his father's inner circle; excessively hedonistic, the Iraqi dictator's son also had a taste for kidnapping, rape and torture. Such flamboyant displays of mustache-twirling evil made him a moving target, so he took a tip from Dad's playbook and hired a double for public appearances. Enter Latif Yahia, a former classmate who was forcibly recruited to act as Uday's surrogate due to their physical similarity. From that point on, this ordinary citizen is plunged into a life of captive luxury---and corrosive villainy.
Yahia's 1997 autobiography detailed how this monster's ball nearly destroyed him; Lee Tamahori's film adaptation re-creates its circus of horrors, but conveniently downplays any death-of-humanity aspects in favor of oversensationalized sadism. This is a movie too enamored of its own tawdriness, turning every violent act and violation into gratuitously salacious grindhouse set pieces. The cartoonishness doesn't stop there: Playing both Yahia and Uday, Dominic Cooper turns the latter into a foppish psychopath, all hyena giggles and buck-toothed mugging (imagine Richard Widmark in Kiss of Death, only supersized), while Ludivine Sagnier's moll vamps, strips and sexy-pouts like Eva Braun channeling Jessica Rabbit. After almost two hours of how-low-can-you-go depravity, The Devil's Double audaciously ends by declaring, "The rest is history." Hopefully, the notion that such self-serious trash constitutes either entertainment or art will quickly follow suit.
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