Duplicity

Film
3 out of 5 stars
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Time Out says

3 out of 5 stars
Combining the cold corporate intrigue of his directorial debut ‘Michael Clayton’ with the suave, globetrotting antics of the ‘Ocean’s’ series, ‘Duplicity’ marks a move into lighter territory for Oscar-nominated ‘Bourne’ screenwriter Tony Gilroy. When a feud between two pharmaceutical giants threatens to tip over into outright war, ex-MI5 agent Ray Koval (Clive Owen) and his arch rival-cum-romantic interest, CIA counter-intelligence operative Claire Sternwick (Julia Roberts), spot a chance to strike it rich. But who’s double crossing who?

‘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.

Posted:

Details

Release details

Rated:
12A
Release date:
Friday March 20 2009
Duration:
124 mins

Cast and crew

Director:
Tony Gilroy
Screenwriter:
Tony Gilroy
Cast:
Clive Owen
Julia Roberts
Paul Giamatti
Tom Wilkinson
Denis O'Hare
Kathleen Chalfant
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