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article imageOp-Ed: Make it a ‘Double’ on home video

By Sarah Gopaul     Feb 1, 2012 in Entertainment
‘The Double’ is a spy thriller with a few cards up its sleeves, starring Richard Gere and Topher Grace. Available on DVD and Blu-ray January 31, 2012.
At first watch, it looks like the film's trailer reveals an essential plot twist – but if filmmakers were willing to give that away, what other juicy plot point could the narrative contain? It turns out the creators of the trailer for The Double are not as unintelligent as they appear.
A senator under surveillance is brutally murdered and the killer is gone before anyone even gets a glimpse of him. The evidence points to the return of Cassius, a Russian assassin presumed dead years ago. To deal with the problem, the CIA brings special operative Paul Shepherdson (Richard Gere) out of retirement and asks him to team with FBI analyst Ben Geary (Topher Grace), who has dedicated his career to studying Cassius. Together, they're supposed to track his whereabouts, uncover the assassin's identity and make him disappear permanently.
While the spoiler in the trailer seems considerable, this integral plot point is unveiled within the first 30 minutes of the movie. The remainder of the film is a staged cat and mouse chase that indicates not all the narrative's cards have been shown. There are many more secrets with which to contend and the biggest is saved for the concluding climax. At this point, the spy thriller aficionado may figure out the last piece of the puzzle, but the average viewer may still be taken aback.
The performances are adequate though a little dry. Gere shows little emotion, even when it's called for, possibly taking the emotionless agent stereotype too far. His role as an always prepared special agent is also difficult to believe since it just doesn't seem compatible with his current demeanour. Grace provides a little humour to the story, which he is able to balance with a stalwart determination to find the truth. The appearance of Stephen Moyer as a Russian prisoner is poorly casted; his accent is weak and his recognizability (even with the scars) detracts from the character.
As far as spy thrillers go, this isn't one of the most exciting contributions to the genre. The time spent combing over files or talking about how dangerous Cassius is slows the pace significantly. Moreover, even though the audience watches as Cassius stealthily murders several people, his threats always feel empty. The other criminals are not much more competent in the intimidation department, but their roles are limited leaving the main action to the newly teamed agents.
Director: Michael Brandt
Starring: Richard Gere, Topher Grace and Martin Sheen
Special features include: commentary by writer/director Michael Brandt and writer/producer Derek Haas; a behind-the-scenes featurette; and trailers. (VVS Films)
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This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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