The Double | Film review
Richard Gere and Topher Grace hunt a deadly Soviet assassin in this laughably awful thriller.
Richard Gere and Topher Grace—now there’s a buddy-cop pairing we were clamoring for. With due respect to the squinty silver fox and his ageless-adolescent costar, The Double is beneath both of their limited talents. It’s like a compendium of every genre-movie cliché you can tally, shot with all the elegance of a film-school soundstage exercise.
The waves of unintentional laughter roll in early, starting with ex-CIA operative Paul Shepherdson (Gere) coming home to find his old boss (Martin Sheen) lurking in the shadows of his living room, like Batman or something. “It’s what we do,” Sheen says with a shrug, before launching into his big pitch: A senator’s dead, and all signs point to the Soviet assassin Paul once chased but never successfully apprehended. Before long, the retired spook’s teaming with a green FBI whiz kid (Grace) to catch the one who got away.
For a while, The Double is merely the most howlingly awful man-hunt thriller you’ve seen in ages. Then comes a twist so preposterous, so predicated on the sheer incompetence of every branch of U.S intelligence, that it gives the film a charge of irresistible Bad Movie lunacy. The smartest thing this very stupid picture does is pull the wool from our eyes early. Why save your big whammy for the home stretch when you can build a hilariously circular cat-and-mouse game out of it? Keyser Söze would be proud—if he could suspend his own disbelief.