The Devil's Double

Rated R 108 min. 2011

Like Scarface crossed with the cheesiest telenovela imaginable, director Lee Tamahori tells a story almost too incredible to believe in The Devil’s Double. And yet, all of it was true, recounted by the man, Latif Yahia (Dominic Cooper), kept in virtual bondage to act as the body double to original gangsta Uday Hussein (also played by Cooper), the psychotic eldest son of Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, in the ’80s and ’90s. Iraq-Iran war vet Latif is yanked off a battlefield and given a choice that is really no choice at all: reject his former identity as a soldier and beloved son to a wealthy Iraqi businessman and become the doppelganger to a madman. Entering the Hussein family compound in Baghdad, Latif finds a world with the trappings of an 18th-century monarchy. There are food tasters and courtesans, scads of lackeys waiting to pounce behind thick curtains, evil rulers with unchecked power, and the human replicas hired to draw assassins’ bullets away from them. Latif finds a few confidants within his waking nightmare, like the elegant, thoughtful Munem (Raad Rawi), an older adviser to Uday who knows he’s working for a psychopath and saves Latif’s skin on at least one occasion. Courting sure death, Latif also takes up with one of Uday’s hot-and-cold running courtesans, Sarrab, a whore with a heart of gold who takes a shine to Latif. As the atrocities stack up, the entire film begins to play at a pitch closer to soap opera, with the kind of wall-to-wall pop music, slo-mo gun play, and fetishized machismo that leaves a lingering foul taste in your mouth.

Film Credits

Official Site:

Director: Lee Tamahori

Writer: Michael Thomas

Cast: Dominic Cooper, Ludivine Sagnier, Raad Rawi, Mem Ferda, Dar Salim, Khalid Laith, Pano Masti, Nasser Memarzia, Philip Quast and Selva Rasalingam


The Devil's Double

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