Our world has changed since the years of the Cold War. Has the way we conduct ourselves as a country changed too? Double agents have been used from the beginning of time in warfare, politics, and business but are there still some in use today? Writer Michael Brandt (Wanted, 3:10 to Yuma) takes aim at the genre as director in “The Double”.
When a Senator is murdered evidence points to a Cold War Russian assassin named Cassius. But Cassius is dead, shot in the chest by the CIA operative who hunted him down, Paul Shepherdson. Paul is retired and brought back in to prove that either Cassius is alive or there is a copycat with the help of FBI Agent Ben Geary who has spent his whole career studying Cassius. But what do you do when the person you are hunting is right next to you or you yourself? Who do you trust and who do you kill?
Brandt takes us all over the spy genre in this film trying to keep you on your toes. If you have seen the trailer already you know Paul, played by the incomparable Richard Gere (Pretty Woman, Chicago) is Cassius. What you do not know is why? In lies where Brandt teamed up again with writer Derek Haas (Wanted, 3:10 to Yuma) to twist and turn the story in true crime passion. I for one kept trying to see where their thoughts were going with the plot and was pleasantly surprised at its ending.
With a Richard Gere heading up your cast how can you go wrong? Gere is masterful in playing the ‘double’ like a light switch, one moment as the CIA man that he is, the next covering his past as Cassius. That is where the strength in the acting stays. Now this is only my opinion but I will say that Topher Grace (That 70’s Show, Valentine’s Day), although a good actor, does not pull off an FBI agent fully. Gere’s performance dominates Grace’s each time they are on the screen, sometimes making Grace look like a bumbling fool. This could have been the idea Brandt was conveying but to the layman watching it looks ridiculous.
Outside of these two actors the film is littered with up and comers like Odette Annable (Cloverfield, You Again) as Ben Geary’s wife, Tamer Hassan (Kick Ass, Clash of the Titans) plays the head Russian assassin and long time actor Martin Sheen (The Departed, The West Wing) as the CIA Director Tom Highland, all doing their part weaving the story through its course.
If there is anything to find fault in this movie it would have to be the ending. The film keeps you guessing and reanalyzing who you think is good and who is the bad guy and is Cassius just a decoy and you want to keep watching and then just as you get the payoff you go, “What the hell!” It just ties up the ends nonchalantly as if it’s just a passing trend. It is almost as if Brandt was tired of directing and wanted to get on with the editing and move on to his next project. How is this fair to the viewer who you have committed to a good story and just wave them off? I would hope that if there is an alternate ending or at least drawn out more and explained in a more believable manner would be in order.
Overall this is a good movie, with good acting and a good story but not something to run out and see at first chance. When or if you do suspend your want to figure out the answer and enjoy the film.
Now how can I relate this film to life as I have done with every review…hmmm…? I would say this, we as a whole society always look at each other with face value and do not look deep into what makes us who we are and why. This film delves a little into that one part of us that tries to make right out of past wrongs. Perhaps we shouldn’t stretch ourselves to thin and it wouldn’t have happened? Keeping things simple and well maintained would do the trick but is that what makes us happy? That is only for us to tell and others to find out, if and only if you want them to know. I have said many times that only we can make ourselves happy first before making others happy. Live your life; just try not to hurt others along the way.
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