‘ Tony Gilroy of the ‘Bourne Trilogy’ debuts his second director/writer initiative since the Oscar-winning ‘Michael Clayton.’ As a crime/spy romance, ‘Duplicity’ deals with Gilroy’s trademark theme: the elusiveness of truth. Deceit, a common thread in many romantic-comedies, weaves perfectly with a con story of two corporate spies looking to land the big payoff. ‘Duplicity,’ the most implausibly honest love story, exudes wit and charm while still imparting Gilroy’s notorious third-act surprise.
‘ ‘ ‘ Julia Roberts and Clive Owen deliver wonderful performances as ex-CIA agent Claire Stenwick and ex-MI6 agent Ray Koval. The couple’s chemistry, first established in ‘Closer,’ proves absolutely essential in a film of sexual allure, clever dialogue and ambiguous deeds. Although located in the fantastic world of spies, it reveals the realities of love and trust. Who better to examine the constantly questioning heart and mind than two masters of duplicity?
A con oddly parallels a love affair ‘- constantly rising tension and stakes meet a decisive win/lose conclusion. Yet, the defrauding necessitated to swindling multimillions starkly contrasts the complete disclosure basic to falling in love. Gilroy breathes new life into the genre notion that learning and accepting a lover’s true nature is the genuine jackpot. However, one cannot mistake this intelligently written script as a pure genre exercise. Gilroy’s typical, puzzling plot keeps the viewer constantly searching for the answers through each darkly humorous scene.
Paul Giamatti’s and Tom Wilkinson’s portrayals of two rival CEOs running competing corporations supply much of the films sinister, comic appeal. An on-screen, slow motion blowout between the organizations perfectly demonstrates the directors aesthetic style and eradicating theme. In a Darwinian survival of the fittest corporation, the narrative twists and turns as the businesses battle for domination. Thus, in true Gilroy fashion, the ending reintroduces the nefarious truth of the world with a glimmer of hope.
Gilroy fans will not be disappointed in his new spy/crime romance. In fact, they will find it ‘completely worth it.’