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Wick's Review

Created Aug 15, 2011 11:17PM PST • Edited May 06, 2018 07:20PM PST

  1. Quality
  2. Perfect 5.0

    Saddam Hussein’s elder son Uday savaged Iraq for decades until US Special Forces took him out in 2003. The devil gets his due in The Devil’s Double, a high octane biopic based on his body-double’s memoirs.

    From outrageous tragedy a magnificent movie emerges, momentous as a hurtling Mercedes, male as a hard-on. Hide the women and children, especially those against Iraqi Freedom. They may rue opposing Saddam’s overthrow after seeing Uday hunt girls of all ages – using, abusing and killing them.

    Uday Hussein didn’t care about country. But drop the phonetic-end from country and he was obsessed.

    Then there’s Dominic Cooper’s dual performance as Uday Hussein & Latif Yahia, the Devil & his Double. A double triumph, it assures Dominic of a spot next to Gary in the Cooper section of moviestar Valhalla.

    Bravura filmmaking about politically momentous events featuring a legendary performance make TheDD one hell of a glittering movie, deserving of a Perfect.

  3. Really Great 4.5

    Dominic Cooper’s doppio performance as Uday Hussein and Latif Yahia vaults him to the top rung of movie actors. Often appearing simultaneously on screen, he infuses each character with its own identity, his voice low and measured as Latif while downright chirpy as Uday. Cooper jumped off the screen as a supporting player in Mamma Mia! and even more so in An Education. He owns the screen now.

    The rest of the cast is outshined by his brilliance.

    • Ludivine Sagnier is a greater actress than she is a beauty, making her inimitable if not bewitching as Uday’s #1 courtier.
    • Raad Rawi transfixes as the Hussein family fixer charged with protecting Uday from himself and his growing legions of enemies. Notice his character adds al-Tikriti to his name, denoting he’s from Saddam’s hometown of Tikrit.
    • Nasser Memarzia is touching as Latif’s true-hearted father.
    • Philip Quast seems curiously bland as Saddam himself. Not sure he would have gotten the job of Saddam’s double back in the day. BTW, notice how the set features painted portraits of Quast on the walls rather than the real Saddam. Way to maintain the illusion!
    • Frida Cauchi is creepy as Sajida Hussein, Uday’s Mom and Saddam’s wife. Bizarre.
    • Jamie Harding underwhelms as Qusay Hussain, Uday’s understated brother.
  4. Male Stars Perfect 5.0
  5. Female Stars Great 4.0
  6. Female Costars Great 4.0
  7. Male Costars Great 4.0
  8. Perfect 5.0

    Part Funnyface, part Scarface, the film reveals a coke-snorting buffoon who was a one man weapon of mass destruction, especially when it came to females. The combo of historically notable story and Scarface level outrageousness makes The DD uniquely transfixing.

  9. Direction Perfect 5.0

    Lee Tamahori’s bravura filmmaking sizzles and pulses, appropriately aroused by the story’s feral emotions. Every shot consequential, it covers an epic decade and touches on two wars: the Iran-Iraq War and Desert Storm. About the latter, Tamahori gives us glimpses of Dick Cheney, Storming Norman Schwarzkopf and George H.W. Bush, each in their finest hour.

  10. Play Perfect 5.0

    Latif Yahia – a good man in an insane situation – survived, escaping Iraq in 1992. The Devil’s Double was the second of his three books about life as Uday’s boyhood classmate and later slave brother.

    His story is structured classically: A profoundly good son with an outstandingly good father comes under the thumb of a rotten seed with a monstrously evil father. Shakespeare would approve.

  11. Music Perfect 5.0
  12. Visuals Perfect 5.0

    Love the Solid Gold poster.

    Iraqi roads are made for high speed German cars.

  13. Content
  14. Horrid 4.4

    A well earned Horrid – Lewd, Savage and Vile. Saddam Hussein’s bad-seed son was well and truly the Devil incarnate.

    One nightmarish image amongst many: glimpsing a man’s intestines spilling out after Uday slices him open with an electric carving knife. You can look it up in his biography.

  15. Sex Lewd 4.0
  16. Violence Savage 4.3
  17. Rudeness Vile 5.0
  18. Glib 1.2

    Seeing Iraq – where we would later fight a war to rid the world of Saddam and Uday Hussein – makes The DD intensely political, yet it’s not political at all. Set in 80s and 90s Iraq when Saddam was at his zenith, it shows that while he may not have been Hitler, it wasn’t for lack of trying.

    Yoda says there is no try, only do, and what Saddam did was easily half a Hitler, with Uday doing his share. Thank goodness der Fuhrer didn’t have any offspring, especially male offspring. What a fresh hell that would have been.

    Final thoughts on Uday Hussein.

    • Beware what hundreds of millions of dollars and a dictator for a father can do to an unstable guy. Women, children, family, friends and country got slaughtered by Uday’s hand, at Uday’s word and in Uday’s wake.
    • Horrible Bosses have nothing on Uday. Hell, Lucifer ain’t got nothing on Uday.
    • Pity Uday’s name doesn’t start with an I instead of a U, since his id was wildly out of control. He indulged every gratification impulse available to him – spoonfuls of cocaine, schoolgirls, shemales, Ferraris, Rolexes, Benzs, and body doubles. Was he the Devil? Abso-fucking-lutely.
  19. Circumstantial Glib 1.4

    Is every barbaric scene, every monstrous utterance, every evil act accurate? No, but the movie is sufficiently truthy to convict Uday Hussein of Crimes Against Humanity. Perhaps not on the scale of his megalomaniac father but certainly up there with Pablo Escobar and way above Al Capone. Even fictional Tony Montana and his Little Friend can’t compete with this asshole.

  20. Biological Glib 1.1
  21. Physical Natural 1.0


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Aug 19, 2011 6:31PM

Regarding Wick’s Review
Yeah, I started Carlos, was transfixed, but fell behind.

Aug 19, 2011 8:35AM

Regarding Wick’s Review
Great review. Gotta see this one. Reminds me to remind you to see the Carlos miniseries…. can’t wait to see your review of that one.