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Starring:Julia Roberts, Clive Owen, Paul Giamatti, Tom Wilkinson

Director:Tony Gilroy

Writers:Tony Gilroy

Cinematography:Robert Elswit

Original Score: James Newton Howard

Running Time:126 Mins.

Duplicity clearly fancies itself as the thinking man’s Oceans 11, though a complex and confusing plot does not make for a gripping and, fundamentally, a good film. So what we have here is the epitome of pretentious film-making, where nearly all involved seem to have ideas above their stations…behind the camera at least. For the savior of Duplicity is in it’s casting.

Re-teaming for a somewhat different endeavour than their last outing together (the acidic Closer) Clive Owen and Julia Roberts were made for each other, onscreen if not off! And here once again bounce their size-able personalities off one another, and were it not for them it’s a safe bet that Duplicity would be a total loss. To explain the plot would take an essay but it basically boils down to Roberts and Owen’s characters crossing, double crossing and triple crossing each other and their respective employers in order to make a million (well several million) and live ‘happily ever after’.

The joy of watching the leads play of each is that you can believe in their relationship, especially their mistrust of one another which affords them plenty of time to exchange the witty dialogue that has become a staple of Gilroy’s films (Michael Clayton & the upcoming State of Play). The problem is when either of them are apart your attention span drifts and you realise how contrived and needlessly confusing the plot is, with Paul Giamatti and Tom Wilkinson’s brief appearances peaking your interest every now and then.

You can’t help feeling this is a total waste of a great cast, despite the odd directorial flourish (Gilroy is no slouch as Michael Clayton proved) this is all rather pedestrian and aside from the cast the score is the only standout aspect, jazzy and jaunty it suggests a pace that the film fails to deliver upon, so our ears will be bouncing along as our eyes simply plod on with the plot. There is the feeling that this is ‘grown up’ piece but surely that doesn’t automatically call upon the need for a lack of pace, excitement, or logic…but maybe I’ve missed the point?

VERDICT

Owen and Roberts are a winning couple, but ultimately Duplicityis far too contrived and needlessly complex for its own good. You can’t help but think a straight-forward rom-com might just have been more enjoyable, even if the ever excellent Paul Giamatti hadn’t been present!

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