It’s a shame director Lee Tamahori didn’t put enough trust in the source material for The Devil’s Double and felt the need to embellish it for Hollywood audiences.
At its bare bones, the real-life story of Uday Hussein (played by Mamma Mia’s Dominic Cooper) and the school friend he tortured and blackmailed into becoming his body double is fascinating and outrageous.
The psychopathic eldest son of Iraqi tyrant Saddam Hussein, Uday spent his days in a hedonistic whirlwind of partying in Baghdad, taking drugs, killing people and snatching schoolgirls off the streets for his sexual pleasure.
These brutal facts all make it into the film, in which the excellent Cooper plays both Bugs Bunny-toothed Uday and his ‘bullet catcher’ Latif Yahia. But the bone-chilling horror Latif witnesses is undermined by sexing-up his story so it fits into a conventional gangster frame, complete with an unconvincing romantic sub-plot.
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