The Devil’s Double

Would you just look at yourself, Dominic?

Watch and learn, filmmakers: when your story is set in a non-English-speaking country, don’t make your English-speaking cast put on pantomime accents to make it seem more ‘authentic’. It doesn’t.

Dominic Cooper here adopts his best Iraqi lilt, facial hair and spray tan to play both Saddam’s sadistic son Uday Hussein and Latif Yahia, the man (supposedly) forced to be Uday’s body double. Understandably reluctant to undergo plastic surgery and become a decoy for would-be assassins, Latif is persuaded with a bit of torture and threats to his family. He then gets to observe Uday as he parties, rapes and murders his way around Baghdad.

Cooper does well as the unhinged Uday, but the strangely passive Latif proves harder to embody. Biographical films always compromise on the truth, but even the obvious filmmaker fabrications here don’t create a truly satisfying story. 6/10

Released 2012 (undated).


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