Duplicity - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Duplicity Reviews

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July 9, 2016
The script might be confusing but has rhythm and an ending that, although slightly predictable from a point on, is distanced from Hollywood stereotypes. The direction has style and tempo, the cast is good and the music excellent. Not as great or sharp as "Michael Clayton" but still a solid commentary on the greedy policies of the big sharks.
May 15, 2016
Intelligent and enjoyable. You really have to pay attention and the twists keep coming (and coming and coming) but it's a lot of fun to see what happens next. The script is well-written & Julia Roberts and Clive Owen are smooth and effortless with their delivery.
February 28, 2016
Who would have thought fiercely competitive and greed-fuelled multinational corporations could resort to such ridiculously underhanded political assassination in order to corner the supposedly lucrative market on artificial hair growth products? Phrased like that it sounds a little hokey, and it kind of was.

Duplicity is a slightly overcomplicated endlessly deceptive caper-story. When compared silmar tales of the genre (like Mr & Mrs Smith), the devilishly sexy and twisted spy-love theme to 'Outwit, Outspy, Outsmart, Outplay, and get out' is significantly lazy.

Modelled noticeably on the cleverly intertwined formula of Ocean's Eleven "what's the character thinking" camera editing and spiffy dialogue layouts, sadly it fails to deliver the same snappy witted, screwball-comedy-esque payoff.

The labyrinthine plot begins in Dubai, alluring Ex-CIA Agent Claire Stenwick (Julia Roberts) seduces, drugs and outsmarts James Bond-ish Ex-MI6 Agent Ray Koval (Clive Owen).

After Stenwick steals more than just his intelligence, Koval obsessively pursues her in hopes of reaching a truce. The unequivocal mutual-mistrust forces honour between the thieves and become the films motif.

When they meet again, and again (predicably already team up and in love) the ambiguous and ethically nimble spies compose an extensive and convoluted scheme to exploit the highly profitable cold war raging between two rivalling multinational cooperation's.

Claire and Ray's target is to separately infiltrate the counter-intelligence department of each company, feeding and exploiting the paranoid giants fears of leaks whilst covertly passing insider information.

Trail blazing frenzied money mogul Richard Garsik (Paul Giamatti) will stop at nothing to obtain a formula he believes deceptive conglomerate tycoon Howard Tully (Tom Wilkinson) has perfected.

Hoping to unveil the purely developmental and highly guarded secret formula at his shareholders meeting, Claire and Ray have other ideas to double-steal the information and sell it on to outside competitors for a tidy sum of $35 million dollars.

However, getting their hands on it without raising suspicion proves to be quite a challenge, so does keeping the couples emotional hiatus of business vs. pleasure. Does the pay-off justify the means, or is getting there actually the fun part?

Stenwick "If I told you I loved you, would it make any difference?" Koval "If you told me or if I believed you".

Director Tony Gilroy's screenplay is perhaps too smart for its own good, the deceptive rollercoaster plot-twister ride is somewhat disorientating. Interweaving flashbacks/forwards whilst being continentally confused jumping from Rome, London, New York and of all places Cleveland is frustrating, even the most discerning moviegoer would find it hard to keep their bearings.

The repeated vernacular of the recurring meetings between the two con-artists is not only confusing but intriguing. It is however, pleasantly refreshing to see a film that manages to be this gripping without featuring a single firearm and having an utterly non-existent body count.

The star-studded cast gives Duplicity its main zest. Owen has carved a career out of playing icon spy James Bond style charters, without ever being him. The rest of the cast seem just as type-cast as Owen, but who is complaining? Giamatti and Wilkinson have the 'angry boss' act down better than anyone.

Exemplified in the wonderful opening credits, a dramatic slow-motion nostril-flaring fierce confrontation between these two rivals on a private airport tarmac plays out like a humorous ballet between two jaw-snapping animals. They are less character, more caricatures spluttering and knocking each other around with their minions and handbags in toe.

The only let down, acting wise is Roberts. Maybe it being a mum of three under five or perhaps her overly long Erin Brockovich Oscar speech, but Julia seems to have lost her unmistakeable onscreen presence and all over sparkle and is cold and flat in this movie.

The deplorable finale doing a sharp 180 degree turn and almost trying to introduce the characters with a new emotion tone seems weak and meagre, almost as it they were desperate just to ensure the expected and typical Hollywood happy ending. It was truly pathetic

The verdict: Although the movie was slow, it was also carefully crafted and had some spunk. Like my review last week of Knowing, this film suffers the same failed last minute attempt at a misguided clean and perky conclusion. When will they learn, if it's about a battle, let them fight to the death. (We don't want soppy endings!)

Published: The Queanbeyan Age
Date of Publication: 10/04/2009
Super Reviewer
November 18, 2015
Great performances and a delightful chemistry between Roberts and Owen help lift this intelligent, funny and well-constructed espionage film above many other similar ones, and it benefits even more from a witty dialogue and clever plot twists.
May 31, 2015
very fun movie, alot of twists
March 29, 2015
I was hoping for more romance with this movie, but it was more spy crap and I found it to be very boring.
½ February 25, 2015
Julia Roberts and Clive Owen are charming actors and can carry a movie with no interesting things happening just fine. That is the case here. Dennis O'Hare is a joy like always plus great small parts from Carrie Preston and Tom Wilkinson and ever Paul Giamatti pops up a couple times. It's has good moments but overall it's a bore
½ January 20, 2015
Falta de carisma en sus protagonistas, George Clooney hubiera sido un acierto, una pelìcula que no logra despegar.
Super Reviewer
January 1, 2015
A crime / romance movie with Clive Owen and Julia Roberts in the main roles and he have been doing some really good flicks the last couple of years. Im glad to see Julia back again on the screen because it was a while ago now and she looks very beautiful like always. This movie reminds me alot of the "Oceans trilogy" with its music and similar scripts. Its quite a complicated story with a few twists here and there and many seems to have problem to follow the whole story so i tried so stay focused from start til the very end so i could enjoy it more. And i did and its was a pretty good movie but it ends up just above average level for this genre. But i can highly recommend it for those who likes more clever movies in a lighthearted way.
½ November 25, 2014
Pretty clever in its construction. The two lead stars are very watchable.
½ September 14, 2014
Fantastic. Patience and attention required to watch. One of the best capers in recent times.
September 14, 2014
Duplicity is a smart, funny, and engaging spy caper, with solid performances by Owen and Roberts, well-written script with twists and wit, and a humorous performance by Paul Giamatti thrown in there as well!
August 6, 2014
This is a very weak and boring film. Easily one of the worst Julia Roberts movies.
August 6, 2014
Another reason why Julia Roberts is nasty......

½ August 1, 2014
Fun enough to watch. Sadly most of the main characters are showing more ego than talent.
July 22, 2014
I mean, the first 10-15 minutes did give people hope. However.
June 24, 2014
Reasonably entertaining, although it has the ability to occasionally get on your nerves.
June 22, 2014
I really enjoyed this film. It delivers what you expect. Fun, entertainment, twists (some expected) and great chemistry. Direction is quite fun again and does not care too much about perfection, which is okay and understandable. Paul Giamatti is outstanding as always. Dialogues are witty and pace is quite evenly upbeat. All in all, a great watch on a friendly, easy day.
½ June 5, 2014
Duplicity has clever acting performances by Julia Roberts and Clive Owen. The plot is a smart non-linear narrative, however, the amount of plot twists is too high making the movie difficult to understand.
½ May 1, 2014
Directed by Tony Gilroy, (Michael Clayton (2007) and The Bourne Legacy (2012)), this is a bubbly spy comedy caper which has a good plot, but there's too many twists and turns to keep up with. That unfortunately keeps it from being compelling, however if it has been told in a linear fashion over it's complex juxtaposed form, it wouldn't have been as entertaining. But it does have a good cast to it's name. This tells the story of MI6 agent turned corporate spy Ray Koval (Clive Owen) and CIA Agent Claire Stenwick (Julia Roberts), who have crossed each others paths at various times over a 5 year period, beginning in Dubai when Claire stole classified documents from Ray. Since then, Ray now works for Dick Garsik (Paul Giamatti) at Equikrom, while Claire does work for Burkett & Randle, ran by Howard Tully (Tom Wilkinson), and both companies are planning to steal chemical formulas off one another. But, we learn that Ray and Claire have a past and they've been planning to con both bosses, and make a massive deal that'll set them both up for life. While Roberts and Owen have fun playing spies who lie for a living, that backfires when it comes to the finished product of the film. It could have been made less complicated and still made sense, but the flashback and flashforwards do work against it. But it's not all that bad, but it could have been better if it was simpler.
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