Rated: PG-13 for language and some sexual content.
Release Date: 2009-03-20
Starring: Tony Gilroy
Official Website: http://www.duplicitymovie.net/
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At its core, Duplicity is a romantic caper about two spies that have left the world of government intelligence for a scheme to cash in on a highly profitable cold war raging between two big rival corporations. The problem is, half the movie goes by before we can figure that out.
Duplicity feels a lot like one of the Ocean’s Eleven movies with the romantic dynamic of Mr. & Mrs. Smith, but its plot is wound up tighter than it really needs to be. Director Tony Gilroy (Michael Clayton, The Bourne Identity) seems to be overly concerned with keeping his audience guessing, virtually adding a plot twist wherever he can in the film. Yes, for most of it we don’t quite know who’s good, who’s bad or who’s double crossing who, but at some points we’re also utterly confused. To make matters worse, this is one of those movies where the timeline isn’t linear and the events are completely shuffled around.
But let’s face it, at the root of this whole thing is a love story in which all those other details don’t really matter much. For all of the intricacies Gilroy writes into the film, all we really care about is the fate of the two spies – as lovers. Fortunately for us, both Julia Roberts and Clive Owen are total pros at being charmingly ‘duplicitous’, and thanks to them, the film is solidly entertaining. Let’s remember how creepily untrustworthy they both were in Mike Nichols’ Closer.
Of course, this isn’t The Bourne Identity nor is it Michael Clayton, and as far as romantic capers go, the endings are never as deceitful. Wink wink.