Guilty pleasure: The Double | On Demand
Skip the trailer and jump right into this twist-laden, hilariously awful man-hunt thriller.
Do yourself a favor and don’t watch the trailer for The Double. It spoils the film’s big, juicy twist—and you’re gonna want to experience that whammy for yourself. Granted, this howlingly awful manhunt thriller, about a retired CIA spook (Richard Gere) chasing a Soviet assassin with the help of a green FBI whiz kid (Topher Grace), actually drops its big reveal in the first act. Rather than save this information for a climactic rug-pull, director and cowriter Michael Brandt builds a hilariously circular cat-and-mouse game around it. Keyser Söze would be proud—if he could suspend his own disbelief.
The Double regurgitates the hoariest genre conventions with a straight face. One priceless example: Early on, Gere and Grace gather around the body of their target’s latest victim, at which point Grace offers his “crazy theory” that their man likes to return to the scene of his crimes. That’s a plot point so recycled, it’s now common to parodies of serial-killer movies. Yet here’s The Double, presenting it as an original thought that might pop into a real person’s brain.
The laughs keep rolling in. There’s the scene where Martin Sheen lurks in the darkness of Gere’s apartment like Batman, or the one in which Grace figures out the bad guy’s identity by studying the evidence board for 30 seconds. Taking place in a world where the Cold War never ended and U.S. intelligence does no background checks on its employees, The Double makes you pity the professional cast members somehow duped into participating. Their loss is our gain. (Available on VOD Sun 1.)