Day By Day

Sunday, March 22, 2009


We went to see "Duplicity" today. It's a serviceable romantic caper flick starring Julia Roberts and Clive Owen, but nothing to get excited about.

There's a lot of talent on display here -- Roberts and Owen are old pros; so are Tom Wilkinson and Paul Giamatti, Denis O'Hare, and Kathleen Chalfant and others in the supporting cast. They all do competent jobs. The cinematography, likewise, is competent, if a tad lazy; so is the direction. The plot is overly complicated, but not too hard to follow. The dialogue tries to be smart, but is actually pedestrian. There's not one memorable line in the entire film. The locations standard for this kind of movie, bouncing from Dubai to Rome, to New York and places beyond, but this is all stuff we've seen before many times.

"Duplicity" is watchable, but does not strongly involve the viewer. I think this is due to the fact that we don't really believe the relationship between the two leads. The "caper" part of the formula is too complicated and the far more important "romantic" part just doesn't click. The fault is not with the actors, who do their jobs, but with the script and direction, and that places the blame squarely on Tony Gilroy who directed his own screenplay. Gilroy has done decent work in the past, on the Bourne films [which he wrote] and Michael Clayton [his only other directorial turn], but this effort barely passes muster.

"Duplicity" is a by-the-numbers flick. If you have money and gas to spare, go to see it -- but if not, fire up the DVD and watch "The Thomas Crown Affair" [either version] or "Charade"[definitely the Cary Grant version, not the one with Marky Mark], you'll have a much better experience.