Friday, April 3, 2009


This movies echoes the Ocean 11 movies with his multiple screen and goofy or annoying music. But the positive attributes from the Ocean 11 series are endemic in this movie. This is a full length smoke and mirrors movie that leaps around corporate espionage and more specifically, the high stakes game of medical research and production. It is a feel good Michael Clayton. Funny thing is, Tom Wilkinson is in this movie. He plays a medical company's CEO. Howard Tully is his name he courts Julia Roberts's character Claire Stenwick to perform a cloak and dagger task for his gigantic firm. Roberts, much to my and other people's disappointment was also in the Ocean 11 movies. When they first presented her in Ocean 11, I and I know other guys were expecting a gorgeous woman, much hotter than her. Those movies had enough stars, I guess they wanted a female star amongst all of those male household names.

Clive Owen plays Ray Koval in this smooth talking movie. This is a corporate James Bond movie, but without the nail biting action. Koval is a former M16 spy who seems to have chosen greener pastures with corporate America. Koval and Stenwick hook up for a goal to sneak away with $40 million. They want that money, that big pay day, instant wealth. Both are already staying in suites but they want more. Greed and avarice, their loyalties are too themselves. Their clandenstine styles are masterfully presented in this entertaining movie.

Stenwick drugs and robs Koval of some sensitive information in Egypt while in Dubai. Several years later, Koval spots Stenwick about this and confronts her. He later courts her again and gets her back in Italy by canceling an important phone she is supposed to receive and then embark for Cairo. This movie is strange. Koval confronts Stenwick a second time with the same lines that he used on her in NYC. Why does this movie fall down these steps? Well, this is revealed at the end.

One flaw with the music, besides the annoying music that I already mentioned, is Paul Giamatti who plays Richard Garsik. I am not a Giamatti fan, they make him seem intimidating but he is not and it does not matter how much profanity he spouts or how many cool one lines the script writers give him, he is not an intimidating character. I do not care for him, I do not think he should be in movies that are supposed to have some suspense. He should be in comedies. Giamatti, perhaps because he is Italian some people think he can pull these roles off. But he does not and can not.

This was a unique and original movie where the main characters were played at the end. They were conned. Garsik is the CEO of a rival medical company and he is always going for the jugular of their rivals, especially Tully's company. This movie has a title befitting it's story line. The stars of this movie, the ones that usually end up with all of the money and live happily ever after in a fantastical mythical world separated from the world most of us are in. Well, like us, the viewer, are played and conned with the best of them. All for naught, all for no reason other than to discredit one in a magnificent way at their shareholder's meeting. Garsik would never recover. No amount of damage control could over come this massive of a screw up. The panacea for baldness which turns out to be a common skin cream, this calamity would send him down the river to a crocodile lagoon where escape, if possible, would result in him being a drastically different person. Perhaps the new Garsik would be less pretentious and more focused on producing ideas that are not stolen.

The movie is funny. Duplicity has a cool title, and the storyline is spectacular. It is not as good as The International because that movie had an inspirational and energetic musical score. But if one wants to be sweetly entertained without the death and kill suspense, perhaps Duplicy is the superior choice. Duplicity had the acting and characters to carry this theme into the promised land. Good prevailed, treachory and larceny should not be rewarded. The Ocean 11 movies painted the casino boss as shallow and nasty, so in Ocean's 11, perhaps this was OK. This movie, the good company played an elaborate prank on another. That is immoral, but they rooted out some slimy characters which happened to be the usual heroes in movies. This turn around, they were the usual suspects.

Koval and Stenwick were living a comfortable existence, were employed and respected in their fields, both chose to toss it all away in pursuit of riches and private glory. Niether were hurt at the end physically, only time will tell if their psyche's were scarred.

I give this movie four stars.****

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