Roberts, Owen spark chemistry in ‘Duplicity’

America’s current financial situation isn’t looking too promising. Jobs are down, costs are up and there’s no money to go around. These days, everybody wants to stick it to The Man. However, nobody can afford to, both figuratively and literally … which is why everyone should see the movie “Duplicity,” because regardless of what our checking account reads, we could all afford to live vicariously through people who actually can stick it to The Man.

“Duplicity” brags a very talented cast, starring Julia Roberts, Clive Owen, Tom Wilkinson and the great Paul Giamatti. Roberts and Owen portray ex-American/ex-British government spies who now work for rivaling mega business franchises, owned by Wilkinson and Giamatti. However, the cutthroat companies don’t know that Roberts and Owen are secretly partners, trying to take the companies for $40 millon by working both sides (this is where the title gets its name). To complicate matters even more, the spies are also on-again/off-again lovers, whose rocky romance may or may not threaten the success of the entire operation.Roberts and Owen share a refreshing chemistry, no doubt thanks to their previous history of performing together in 2005’s “Closer.” Their relationship remains intelligent and unexpected, constantly fueled by some inner desire to always one-up the other. They are very much a modern-day Cary Grant and Katharine Hepburn in every way, down to Owen and Grant’s British heritage and Roberts and Hepburn’s signature red hair.

You might say this movie sounds serious, in which case you’d be wrong. The bulk of this comedy/spy movie includes quick, witty banter, zingers filled with poisonous stingers and over-the-top, yet still believable acting (one of Giamatti’s charming trademarks).

You might also say this movie sounds like it has an ocean’s view, in which case you’d be right. Boasting a great soundtrack almost identical to Soderbergh’s terrific remake, “Duplicity” is similar to “Ocean’s Eleven” in that they are both throwbacks to the heist films reminiscent of the Rat Pack era. But where “Ocean’s Eleven” attempts its old school feel in visual ways such as scenery and clothing, “Duplicity” achieves its classic vibe through the wonderfully written dialogue and the creatively clever script penned by the film’s writer/director Tony Gilroy.

In addition to being incredibly well-written, the film is also very well-shot, filled with many aesthetically pleasing images and camera work. One of the best moments of the entire film is the opening scene at the airport hangar, which very well may be one of the best, if not funniest, slow-motion sequences I’ve ever seen in a film. (Sorry though, no “Chariots of Fire” theme song here.) And even though Gilroy is obviously influenced by older films, he still keeps an eye to the future by utilizing multiple screens made popular by the television show “24”.

This movie will constantly leave you guessing, in part because of the many flashbacks, but also in part because, unlike “Ocean’s Eleven,” the audience is never clued in to how the two spies plan on bringing their operation to success, leaving us to continually guess what will happen next.

So if the economy has got you feeling down, make like the Great Depression and treat yourself to some popcorn and the intelligent and entertaining movie “Duplicity.” Because this is one economic stimulus package that is actually quite stimulating.

This movie is currently being shown at the Rave Motion Picture Theatre in Plainfield.

Source: The Depauw

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