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Reviews
STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

FILM DETAILS
Certificate
12A
Cast
Julia Roberts
Clive Owen
Paul Giamatti
Tom Wilkinson.
Directors
Screenwriters
Running Time
125 minutes

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Duplicity
It’s Clive and Julia vs. multinational corporations. Or A-listers vs. predators


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Plot
MI6 spook Ray (Owen) is seduced and outwitted by CIA honeytrapper Claire (Roberts). But they enjoy playing each other and join the private sector of corporate espionage to make off with a trade secret and a mighty pension pot... If they can resist stabbing each other in the back.


Review
Duplicity
There's far more sarcasm than snogging in a romantic caper that reunites Closer co-stars Julia Roberts and Clive Owen for a combative round of sex, lies and betrayal. It’s also considerably more fun than their previous cinematic encounter. The con that consumes them is a good one. Having retired from their respective intelligence agencies to bankroll a lobe-trotting getaway in sexy luxury, Roberts’ Claire Stenwick and Owen’s Ray Koval get their feet under desks in the counter-intelligence departments — for such things exist, apparently — of two rival multinationals. Her boss is ruthless tycoon Howard Tully (Tom Wilkinson), while Ray’s employer is Tully’s brash nemesis, Dick Garsik (Paul Giamatti). These two captains of industry hate each other’s guts so much, they’ve escalated from public punch-up to financing a business war using paranoia, sleuthing, spyware and dirty tricks to foil each other in a big-money, top-secret product launch.

Writer-director Tony Gilroy ticks all the espionage escapade boxes: good-looking people, designer duds, international scenery (London, Rome, New York, the Bahamas, some place pretending to be Dubai), nifty gadgets (surveillance and code-cracking gizmos, ghosts in machines), the nimble eluding of the tail at major transport hubs, and similarly cool, sneaky stuff he deployed in the Bourne screenplays. There are no parcour or car chases, alas, but there are thongs and Champagne. It’s elegantly, expertly done.

Gilroy has gone full on for a classic caper in the Hitchcockian or Charade line of sophisticated comedy thrillers, and it is smart, slick and full of clever twists, with some witty badinage and good performances down the cast list. But to pull off an unqualified delight it is essential that the stars twinkle. Ever since Cary Grant died that has been the big problem in this genre. Clive Owen is no Cary Grant. Nobody else is either, but you definitely want more playfulness and suavity in your Armani-suited deceivers. Roberts, back after her protracted maternity leave, is also okay but not dazzling. And without giving the game away, the who-has-outsmarted-whom? finish kind of fizzles.


Verdict
The chemical combustion just isn’t there between Julia and Clive, and you can’t help wondering if Gilroy wrote this with George Clooney in mind. Still, a glamorous, diverting escapade that over-30s in particular can enjoy.


Reviewed by Angie Errigo


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Average user rating for Duplicity
Empire Star Rating

Duplicity: Film Review

Back in 2007 director Tony Gilroy delivered one of the year's best films in Michael Clayton. Fast forward 24 months and we find the writer/director back on similar territory with his stylish follow-up, Duplicity. The movie is aptly titled given that things are never quite what they seem. And like the two central characters – played with aplomb by Clive Owen and Julia Roberts – the audience is constantly kept on its feet in a world of double-crosses. As good as Clayton? Nah. Better tha... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Matthew Pattinson at 18:05, 08 August 2010 | Report This Post


Waste of Time

I'm sorry that I couldn't write a reasonably full review of this dreadful pile of dirge even if I wanted to. I gave up after about 45 minutes of wondering what the (expletive deleted) was going on, when I decided that a) I couldn't work it out and b) I couldn't care less. So I switched off the DVD and went back to reading a book. Any book, even the Ankara Telephone Directory, would have been preferablwe. Julia Roberts should consider permanent retirement if this limp effort reflects her ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by magiclips at 09:44, 03 December 2009 | Report This Post


RE: POINTLESS

It was Shite - shite shite shite with no point at all and no connection with both leading actors. I think that was the point.   ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Seamus. Pat. at 14:36, 14 October 2009 | Report This Post


Great and sexy. You may find it a little stupid and nonsense, but, between us, it kind of turned me on. Smart and thrilling; I loved this. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by nc_jj at 04:50, 28 August 2009 | Report This Post


Nonsense

Tries to be Ocean's 11, but Owen ain't Clooney and Roberts has lost some of her magic. Poor chemistry between the leads, with annoying music and a "plot" that is simply all over the place. * Spoiler * We see them rehearsing some dialog that occurs twice.....5 years apart. Never got my head around that. And more to the point, just what was the big conspiracy anyway? Was the whole stunt purely for one corporate rival to humiliate another?! *Spoiler End. Anyway, it was boring nonsense and... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Hillsman at 13:36, 17 July 2009 | Report This Post


Awful

Made no sense and just seemed all over the place! ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by munky22 at 14:54, 08 July 2009 | Report This Post


Awful

Made no sense and just seemed all over the place! ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by munky22 at 14:54, 08 July 2009 | Report This Post


POINTLESS

AND THE POINT OF THE FILM IS????????????????????????? ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by omarx at 23:56, 03 April 2009 | Report This Post


POINTLESS

AND THE POINT OF THE FILM IS????????????????????????? ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by omarx at 23:56, 03 April 2009 | Report This Post


Pretty Owen, going down the Street !!!....

Probably the most boring Film I've seen this Year. It was quite clever but SO uninteresting, in fact I was glad to see the final " twist " turning up at the end so I could leave !!!!........ ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by n13roy at 22:56, 31 March 2009 | Report This Post


Boring!!!!!!!!!

I've been working away from home and went to see this to pass the time. This film is so wooden you are in real danger of suffering from splinters. Terrible plot with poor twists and turns. One of the few films i have ever seen that i wanted to get up and leave only half way through the film. Save your money!!!!!!! ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by HERMES_67 at 18:44, 27 March 2009 | Report This Post


bit dull

It has a few moments, the opening scene in New York is kinda fun (for no particular reason) and some of the dialogue exchanges are fun, but towards the end I lost interest. Owen and Roberts are bad; but they're a little stiff. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by tysmuse at 00:04, 27 March 2009 | Report This Post


Lightly entertaining mystery with amiable characters and snappy dialogue. The story is a bit too far-fetched and tries to be cleverer than it really is but at no point was I bored and it can be enjoyed by both genders, which is always a plus. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by cluesy at 17:44, 26 March 2009 | Report This Post


dull

This tries so hard to be clever, smart and slick but poor chemistry between the leads and has a plot that is neither clever or slick enough. 2 stars at most. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by bretty at 14:48, 23 March 2009 | Report This Post


RE: Okay But Confusing.

I like an intellectual plot -- I loved Memento, for example -- but unfortunately, Duplicity leaps around in time and it's never clear from the plot who's with whom and what's happening when. The film is clearly meant to be a comedy at times, except that it maintains a serious tone throughout. And by being a farce, it loses touch with reality so we never really believe in the story. (It's OK to make a generic story as a parody, but not if the parody is supposed to be funny.) Here's an examp... More

Posted by Riddick_J at 21:37, 21 March 2009 | Report This Post


Okay But Confusing.

I took my mum to see this for a Mother's Day present as she likes Clive Owen and that the film sounded good. It begins with Roberts and Owen meeting in Dubi, falling in each other's arms and one of them leaving them to it. As the film goes on, twists and turns, backwards and forwards and a ending that dosen't really satisfy. Yes, there is chemisty between Julia Roberts and Clive Owen. I really don't think George Clooney could do this, Owen's got a lot of charsmia and would charm any woman with h... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by joanna likes films at 18:04, 21 March 2009 | Report This Post


I thought it was a lot of fun! I didn't expect there to be a big outbreak of sexual tension in the film because it's not that sort of film. It's a mad espionage caper with a story that goes forward and back. It was fun, definitely a 3-star film. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by timgowen at 16:52, 21 March 2009 | Report This Post


RE: Went in with an open mind

I dunno what it is about Clive Owen, but I just fail to get excited about anything he does.  It's a shame, as I really want to like him. ... More

Posted by Drone at 09:53, 21 March 2009 | Report This Post


Went in with an open mind

I sore to never see anything with Gilroy's name on it after the disastrous affair that I know as THE worst film I've witnessed yet, Michael Clayton, but this has Paul Giamatti, it's an evil trick, he knew I hated him so he used the only actor I've sworn to see every film of on the big screen. Yet another two hours of torturous dialogue, poor acting for the most part, twists that were obvious from the previews and characters so dull paint drying on Keanu Reeves would be more fascinating. (Nothin... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Ethanial at 18:42, 20 March 2009 | Report This Post


Duplicity

Duplicity, or Ocean's Fourteen if one was to be cynical, is a comedy thriller that's so in love with itself, it stops to admire its convoluted plotting in every mirror it passes. With a tasty Maguffin in 'the product' keeping the audience in their seats until they find out what it is, Where the flashbacks and forwards are sometimes confusing and irritating, there's not a lot of sex between Owen and Roberts. Both are cold fishes here and it's hard to believe that they're attracted to each oth... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by moviemaniac2 at 17:45, 20 March 2009 | Report This Post


from 4 to 3 stars in a matter of hours?

weird. I thought this was a terrible film, wasn't a big fan of Michael Clayton either. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Jasper at 18:27, 16 March 2009 | Report This Post


from 4 to 3 stars in a matter of hours?

weird. I thought this was a terrible film, wasn't a big fan of Michael Clayton either. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Jasper at 18:27, 16 March 2009 | Report This Post


RE: RE:

I'm not a big fan of Pinocchio - sorry, Clive Owen - but I think I'll be giving it a go ... More

Posted by kinkykeeks at 18:22, 16 March 2009 | Report This Post


RE:

Given the one clip in the trailer of Giamatti and Wilkinson facing off, I'll certainly be giving this a go ... More

Posted by elab49 at 15:18, 16 March 2009 | Report This Post


Interesting premise if it does indeed include "a lobe-trotting getaway" ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Essex at 15:12, 16 March 2009 | Report This Post


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