Dominic Cooper delivers a mesmerising dual performance in The Devil’s Double, a gaudy, gory thriller inspired by the intertwined lives of Saddam Hussein’s psychopathic eldest son and the man who became his body double. As Saddam’s playboy son Uday, he’s a giggling, buck-toothed sadist with a taste for rape and murder; as Iraqi army lieutenant Latif Yahia, Uday’s luckless stand-in, he’s stoically incorruptible, despite succumbing to a risky affair with his boss’s luscious party-girl mistress Sarrab (Ludivine Sagnier). Cooper is terrific in his two roles, but he’s much better than the film itself, which is as flashy and violent as the decadent world it depicts – and just as shallow. Taking his cue from gangster movies like Scarface, director Lee Tamahori (maker of Bond film Die Another Day) doesn’t hold back from showing Uday’s excesses – and they are extreme – but he fails to supply the dramatic substance or psychological insight that might justify sending the viewer on this nightmare ride.
On general release from 10th August.