Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Review: Duplicity

Year: 2009
Director: Tony Gilroy
Screenplay: Tony Gilroy
Starring: Clive Owen, Julia Roberts

Synopsis is here

Let me praise the performances of the two leads in this film. Let me praise them to high heaven. I applaud the work on display here as throughout Duplicity. While Clive Owen is no Cary Grant, he shows he's almost in the same ballpark and Julia Robert comes out of her semi retirement cocoon to bring about an assured performance which despite her never leaving her comfort zone, shows her clearly in her element having fun. Let me praise these performances as they are engaging to watch! let me praise them as they made me titter, Let me praise these performances....because the rest of the film is shite.

I hate walkouts because you don't see the full movie and while I still young and naive, I still believe you should watch the movie till the end credits just to judge a movie as a whole. We had one walk out during when I saw the film, and while i found that annoying...I could clearly see why they did. Tony Gilroy's film is dull. It shouldn't be, it should be light, frothy and fun, especially after Gilroy's first film; the relatively heavy Micheal Clayton. Everything in the movie points towards this film being a very breezy little flick. From the slickly placed dialogue that rolls off the tounge of the leads, to the many different exotic locations (expect for maybe London lol).

However the film wrongfoots itself by forgeting how light it should be while giving the viewer a plot so basic, that it's not fun to figure out. Within half an hour we know pretty much exactly how the shit is going to go down and except for the last moments of the film; Duplicity does nothing to freshen up it's tired plot points and relies too much on the performances to try and distract you from it's blandness. Problem is when you see right through the plot it's hard to root for these game players no matter how much fun they're having.

When the film finally pulls the rug from under you at the end of the film, it's not clever in anyway because all the plot points before hand have been guessed. from Mcguffin to Patsy, your way ahead of everyone your watching and waiting impatiently to catch up. When the obligatory explanation comes at the end of the scene I could imgine many people merely rolling their eyes and stating in their head "knew that, saw that coming etc" I know I did.

What makes things worse is how transparent it makes the relationship between Clive Owen's Ray and Julia Robert's Claire, the film lays out their character's pathway clearer than the yellow brick road. Dothery had obstacles, Duplicity does not. It's all a bad shallow act. I'm not ruining anything because the directors already told you far too early. I'm not a man who thrives on catching films out with plotholes and the like because once you find them you don't enjoy the film as much. It's no fun when you get too far ahead of the story before the characters but here Gilroy has given you enough shortcuts to allow you a quick sprint to the finish line. As for Roberts and Owen and their watchable displays? They're not even halfway finished the first lap.