Clive Owen and Julia Roberts have combustible chemistry as amorous corporate spies in the clever and romantic 2009 caper film DUPLICITY.
DUPLICITY was written and directed by Tony Gilroy, who performed the same tasks for the 2007 George Clooney thriller MICHAEL CLAYTON. With their "non-linear" story-telling, MICHAEL CLAYTON and DUPLICITY are the cinematic equivalent of jigsaw puzzles, with the story made clear only gradually and the big picture not fully revealed until the very last puzzle piece slides into place.
I found this movie grand fun, perfect "sit back and relax" Friday night viewing. The leads are such a good team that they really need to make another movie together. (They also starred in the dour 2004 film CLOSER.) Owen is, put plainly, gorgeous eye candy, and when you add in his accent...well, I'll be happy to watch this one again. Julia Roberts may be my favorite modern-day actress, and I'm always glad to see her in lighthearted romantic fare. The script they were given is excellent, with many memorable bits of dialogue and a particularly riveting exchange which one gradually realizes is an inside joke between the lead characters.
The supporting cast includes Paul Giamatti and Tom Wilkinson as two warring corporate tycoons. Denis O'Hare (who reminded me a bit of David Clennon of THIRTYSOMETHING) plays a spy boss, with more spy types well played by Kathleen Chalfant and Rick Worthy.
The film also has excellent location shooting in Italy, the Bahamas, and elsewhere, and interesting use of multiple onscreen shots cuing the beginning of each revelatory flashback sequence.
Parental advisory: This film is rated PG-13 for some mild language and plentiful (though relatively tame) love scenes.
DUPLICITY is available on widescreen DVD. The only extra is a commentary track by writer-director Tony Gilroy and editor-coproducer John Gilroy.
Glenn Erickson reviewed the film at DVD Savant. He also loved it, comparing it to Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn's CHARADE (1963) and Ernst Lubitsch's film about jewel thieves, TROUBLE IN PARADISE (1932).