The Devil’s Double on DVD – The DVDfever Review

The Devil's Double

The Devil’s Double begins with Latif Yahia (Dominic Cooper, below) being driven to meet one of Saddam Hussein’s sons, Uday. It soon becomes clear to us that they are more than just a little bit alike, not least because they are both played by the same actor. To the characters, they know each other already and have done so since school, and Uday wants Latif to come and work for him in Baghdad. As him: his double.

If he refuses? Well, he has every right, but if he does then all of his family will be thrown into the prison at Abu Ghraib. And if he accepts? Well, of course he has no choice, but in any event, he certainly won’t be allowed to contact them while working as Uday, which involves learning Uday’s life story. But how long can he stick it out for?

The two Dominic Coopers work together flawlessly onscreen, especially in an early scene where Latif is looking in a mirror at his reconfigure look with a new nose & slight amounts of facial cosmetic surgery, and Uday comes along and stands next to him so there’s two lots of each on view.

Although a drama film, this not only shows us a glimpse of what it would be like to be around a complete nutter like Uday Hussein, but also brings out a shining performance in Dominic Cooper, especially when showing him either as Uday or as Latif *pretending* to be Uday.

Beyond that, there’s not really a great deal to the plot. Latif is made to be Uday’s double against his will so you know he’s not going to be happy about it and you have to see how it all plays out. There’s also a romance thrown in where Latif starts seeing Sarrab (the stunning Ludivine Sagnier, below), a woman brought into his world by Uday.

There’s some very graphic scenes, particular a moment where a friend of Saddam’s, who thinks Uday has humiliated him, just won’t pipe down and gets attacked with a very sharp knife causing his intestines to spill out before getting a bullet in a painful place.

Overall, this is worth watching for Cooper’s performance, but the sum is less than its parts.

Presented in the original 2.35:1 theatrical ratio and in anamorphic widescreen, the quality of the print is a very good one, even if you’re well-used to Blu-ray like myself. There are no defects that I can spot.

Audio-wise, the film is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1, and doesn’t have too much going on in the surround sound department but does dialogue, gunfire and ambience justice.

The extras are as follows:

  • Making Of (4:33): Too short for anything in-depth, there are just brief soundbites from director Lee Tamahori plus Dominic Cooper and

  • Interviews One with the real Latif Yahia (4:47) and one with Dominic Cooper (12:07). Both are very brief Q&As so don’t give a massive amount of insight.

  • Production design (4:26): Set design, showing hows the sumptious locations on view.

  • Make-up (4:25): Costume Designer Anna B. Sheppard talks about how she came to the set of this straight after Inglourious Basterds, with make-up artist Jan Sewell giving her views on the topic at hand.

  • UK Premiere Highlights (3:01): Blink and you’ll miss pictures being taken of the cast, along with brief soundbites.

  • Audio commentary: with director Lee Tamahori.

The menu blends static images of the cast against a constant stream of bullets raining down, with the theme tune playing in the background. There are subtitles in English and just a mere 12 chapters to the film, which is ridiculous. I work on a principle of around one every five minutes.

Before the main menu even appears, though, we’re given a trailer for something I’m not going to name because it should be in the extras section and NOT stuck at the front like a rental video.

The Devil’s Double is out now on Blu-ray and DVD.


Detailed specs:

Running time: 104 minutes
Year: 2011
Distributor: Warner Home Video
Released: December 26th 2011
Chapters: 12
Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1
Languages: English
Subtitles: English
Widescreen: 2.35:1 (Digital Intermediate (2K))
Disc Format: DVD9

Director: Lee Tamahori
Producers: Paul Breuls, Michael John Fedun, Emjay Rechsteiner and Catherine Vandeleene
Screenplay: Michael Thomas (based on books by Latif Yahia)
Music: Christian Henson

Uday Hussein/Latif Yahia: Dominic Cooper
Sarrab: Ludivine Sagnier
Munem: Raad Rawi
Saddam Hussein/Faoaz: Philip Quast
Ali: Mimoun Oaïssa
Yassem Al-Helou: Khalid Laith
Azzam: Dar Salim
Latif’s Father: Nasser Memarzia


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