Duplicity Tony Gilroy

Duplicity Tony Gilroy
With a cast of Julia Roberts, Clive Owen, Paul Giamatti, Tom Wilkinson and the writer of Michael Clayton (who also wrote The Cutting Edge) on board, a few things can be ascertained about Duplicity going in. Firstly, it's going to be highly stylized and desperately hip, featuring fast talkers spewing oh-so-clever dialogue with half-smirks and smug aplomb. Secondly, a twist is sure to be around the corner, so as to remind us that what we're watching is sassy and smart. And lastly, the overall message will have anti-capitalist leanings, because Communism is uber-chic in Hollywood right now, as a generalized knowledge of world history isn't necessary on the actor education front. In no way does Duplicity disappoint, given the premise of two undercover operatives (played by Clive and Julia) perpetually manipulating and lying to each other for the sake of global commerce and personal financial security, while trying to develop a relationship. Since they can barely trust each other, spending much of their time playing mind games, their decision to team up for a corporate double-cross involving the cure for male baldness is sure to backfire, or will it? For the audience, there's a bit of fun in not knowing who is telling the truth, or what cards they intend to play, which is where the majority of the charm stems from. Smartly, writer/director Tony Gilroy is aware of this and never tries to make the movie more than it is, settling for a snarky, stylized diversion. Set design matches internal character struggles, with large, formal, sparsely decorated spaces revealing an inner coldness without trust, giving the film the look to support its surface ambitions. There isn't anything beyond that and Gilroy's script tends towards self-congratulation a few too many times, with characters listening to recordings of earlier conversations and remarking on their wittiness. It's unlikely that many will notice, or care, however. Included with the DVD is a commentary track with Tony and John Gilroy where they discuss locations, production and their perceived shortcomings. (Universal)