“The Devil’s Double” Potrayal of Madness

Most countries that have been – or are still – savagely tormented with the horrors of dictatorship would probably agree that other than the chief tyrant himself… the dictator’s son could be the first worst nightmare a country must endure. ‘The Devil’s Double’, directed by Lee Tamahori, tells the story of the perverse brutality in Iraq under Saddam Hussein’s Ba’ath regime who has given full reign of unlimited power to the vile and deranged eldest son, Uday Hussein. Loosely adapted from a questionable autobiography of the same title, it is depicted from the viewpoint and experiences of Latif Yahia, a veteran of the Iran-Iraq war who was chosen to be the Uday’s double for public appearances that is reckon as target for would-be assassins.

Although the movie itself does not really convey any new portrayal beyond that we know of about the conditions of Iraq under the control of Saddam, and there isn’t any original touch on the concept of doppelgangers, but the entirety of the movie is quite fairly entertaining, all due to the extraordinary and convincing dual performance by the British actor Dominic Cooper as Uday Hussein dan Latif Yahia. Previously played mostly as second-string leading men, Dominic was able to portray in one frame scene as both the sadistic always-intoxicated rapist Uday and the reluctant Latif who is slowly enjoying the luxurious lifestyle of the Hussein heir.

Unfortunately, the movie was based on a book which the truth itself is questioned by many. In addition to that, director Tamahori and screenwriter Michael Thomas admit that many aspects of the movie was changed and fictionalized for the purpose of making a more interesting tale. Hence, the movie then only serves as a purpose of merely fictional entertaiment and not intended as a historical portrayal. Worst come to worst, it could also be interpreted as a propoganda to justify negative opinions towards Iraq. But overall, “The Devil’s Double” is quite an engaging movie of sadistic cruelty, violence, drugs, and sex taking  set in a contradicting place , but sadly, did  not fully executed to its full potential.

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