Movie/TV Reviews

Movie Review: Duplicity

I watched this one with Kevin. Which was a mistake to begin with — he’s not exactly the biggest Julia Roberts fan. In fact, he thinks the woman can not only NOT act, she’s homely looking.

Which, ordinarily, I would disagree with him. But in this movie? Well, she DID look a bit homely. And come to think of it? All of her characters ARE the same. Hhmm …

At any rate, he fell asleep about 30 minutes into the movie. And when the movie woke him up later? He walked his sleepy butt into bed and had no interest in watching the rest of it with me.

I should have followed him.


duplicity In essence, this movie is about trust.

And by that I mean, there isn’t any trust. In fact, these characters build a relationship on the fact that they can’t trust each other. It’s both fascinating and disturbing to watch.

Why disturbing? Because it makes me wonder just how many real-life couples out there are in a similar situation.

Julia Roberts’ character, Claire, and Clive Owens’ character, Ray, are CIA agents. They are both highly trained in the art of fooling people – including each other.

The movie’s time line is a bit disjointed. We begin in the present, then jump back a few years, then move forward to the present, then jump back 18 months and so on. At first, I didn’t care for the format, but after a while, I got used to it and looking at the big picture after the fact, I think this yo-yo story-telling method might have been the only way to tell this particular story.

At any rate, I’ve filed it away for future reference for my own stories.

After many years in the spy business, Claire has had enough. She wants to retire and and live the good life on her own terms. Together, her and Ray begin looking for that last “big” job — a job big enough to allow them to retire together.

Together, and yet separately, they find a possible situation. But by the time Ray finds out what Claire is up to, Claire is already knee deep in her undercover role and can’t back out – Ray is forced to wait until Claire can incorporate him into the overall scheme.

And she does, only Ray is on the opposing team. Claire works for one marketing company, Ray works for a competing marketing company and both company’s CEO’s hate each other so much they would love nothing more than to put the other out of business.

Claire’s company discovers a product so big that once it’s marketed and mass produced, it will turn the world upside down and make people desperate to buy it. Nearly half of the movie both teams are scrambling just to find out what the product is. And once the product has been discovered, the other half of the movie they are scrambling trying to keep the product secret on one end, and trying to steal it on the other end.

And in the middle of this series of complicated espionage moves, Claire and Ray are trying to steal it for themselves without letting their companies know what’s going on.

Throughout this entire movie, Claire doesn’t trust Ray and Ray doesn’t trust Claire. And even though you know the relationship shouldn’t work, somehow, it does: they are perfect for each other. And this annoys me, because the characters annoy me and is this movie over yet?

Yes. I confess. I nearly fell asleep. The confusing tricks and secret spy stuff felt watered down and not quite … real. Which sounds stupid considering it was a movie, but I simply couldn’t get into it. I think Claire was too smart and too strong for Ray and I got quite impatient with Ray and his always one step behind Claire antics. I like strong females, as long as they have a bone of humility and that bone? Was not in Claire’s character. I think she came off too brash and uppity.

The ending was unexpected and thoroughly dissatisfying. It was one of those endings where you just blink and say, “That’s it?! They went through all of that for … ?”

I’d give the movie a C- … maybe a C.


If you watched Duplicity, what did you think of it?