Rated PG-13; Directed by Tony Gilroy; Starring Julia Roberts, Clive Owen, Paul Giamatti, Tom Wilkinson, Carrie Preston
Some movies require a great plot; some need great actors; and some depend on a director’s vision. Good movies mix it up with at least two of these items and great movies use all three. For plot and direction, Duplicity is good, but not great. What it does have is Julia Roberts and Clive Owen, making for a great amount of charm and fun. Duplicity, though not making the great grade, does turn out to be an enjoyable outing at the movies.
Part thriller, part heist film, Duplicity gives us duplicitous layers of plot about two conniving corporate security agents. Claire Stenwick (Julia Roberts) and Ray Korval (Clive Owen) have a professional rivalry that doesn’t allow for much trust in each other, but they team up to out-scheme their employers: two cutthroat, competitive corporations.
The plot is full of amusing contrivances that work, as long as you don’t over think it all. Director and writer Tony Gilroy (Michael Clayton) tries a little too hard to be too clever. Luckily, he has managed to put together a marvelous cast that lets us sit back and enjoy the complicated goings on. Julia Roberts and Clive Owen shine as they trade witty banter. They also have plenty of help with the supporting cast, especially Paul Giamatti and Tom Wilkinson as the CEOs who hate each other.
The fun in the plot comes from the corporate shenanigans. Instead of national secrets to uncover, this “thriller” uses cosmetic products as the heistable plot device. Roberts and Owen increase the fun. So, Duplicity isn’t great, but it has an interesting plot, okay direction, and stars great actors loaded with charm.