This article is over 13 years old

Movie Reviews

Film Review: “Duplicity”

(Universal. 2 hours, 5 minutes. Rated PG-13 for language and some sexual content. Directed by Tony Gilroy.) Julia Roberts (Claire Stenwick), Clive Owen (Ray Koval), Tom Wilkinson (Howard Tully), Paul Giamatti (Richard Garsik), Carrie Preston (Barbara Bofferd). Music by James Newton Howard.

I’ve got mixed feelings about this one, and I can’t quite recommend it, despite a lot of fun elements throughout the movie (especially at the start). Unfortunately the elegant proceedings and exotic locations get bogged down in talk, talk, talk, unnecessary time-shifts and overlaying plot devices. The payoff doesn’t seem to earn all the time and trouble that went into it. Roberts and Owen are two ex-government agents (she was CIA, he was MI6) now working for rival conglomerates, headed by Giamatti and Wilkinson (hamming it up, seeming to have more fun then we are). Good luck trying to unravel the plot.

The two leads give off major star wattage, especially Owen, clearly in his element as he struts James-Bond-like in Armani suits, tossing off witticisms. He nearly overshadows Roberts (“I’m not making a comeback”), who looks thin and pinched in her mostly-bland wardrobe, with overwhelming corkscrew curls, and her cheekbones jutting out like Jetsons flying-car landing platforms. Composer Howard forsakes his usual laid-back sound for an enjoyable uptempo, jazzy score. Director Gilroy (in his second feature after Michael Clayton) seems to be aiming for his Ocean’s 11, but it ends up more like his Ocean’s 12 (the bad one). Note to Gilroy: go back and watch Hitchcock, especially Notorious or North by Northwest.