If there is such a thing like a film to smart to enjoy ‘Duplicity’ written and directed by Tony Gilroy would certainly qualify. It is not that scriptwriter Gilroy misses smart stories in his CV – he wrote the ‘Bourne’ series (based on Robert Ludlum’s novels), ‘Proof of Life’ and ‘Devil’s Advocate’each of them smart. The problem with Duplicity is that he did not find a better director than Tony Gilroy  to direct a script which has many surprises, hidden angles, flashbacks and twists but too few of them are being turn into moments of good cinema suspense or emotions.

 

source http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0118971/

source http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0118971/

 

Duplicity is the story of two ex-spies (one CIA – Julia Roberts, one MI-6 Clive Owen) who go private and plan a big scam by getting hired by two competing moguls in the shampoo industry. In a world where eavesdropping is the rule, where nobody trusts anybody, where every word hides a lie which hides an even bigger lie being a couple of spies and lovers means first of all trusting each other? Is trust possible? this is the permanent question and the answer is so many times no that when time comes to answer yes the answer is simply not credible.

 

(video source OfficialTrailersLTD)

 

The two lead actors create chemistry and they cannot act bad, but chemistry and good acting is not enough, especially as both Roberts and Owen look or are made to look in this film a little bit beyond the peaks of their respective sex-appeals. This may be intentional, as even sexy spies start getting old at some point, and this is a credible situation of life, but simply does not fit the profile of an action movie. On the other side the twists and layers and flashbacks in time are so many and so often that at some point in time I lost interest in watching the action, and believe me, this seldom happens to me in an action movie. Duplicity simply tries to hard to be smart, and the style of director Gilroy does not make justice to the scriptwriter Gilroy.