Saturday, November 05, 2011

"The Double": a not-so-satisfying little CIA thriller about more than one double agent; seems suddenly relevant given Putin's behavior (even with Crimea)

There’s a curious little thriller playing in some of the larger plexes, “The Double”, from Image Entertainment and New Hyde Park. I saw it today at the AMC in Alexandria, very near the federal courthouse and patent office.  Believe it or not, there’s a large open parking lot, not likely to be there forever in the DC real estate market (whatever the rest of the country’s problems).  The title of the movie could have used a plural, as we will see, 

Richard Gere (Paul Sheperdson, the elder) and Topher Grace (Ben Geary, the youth) play a kind of tag team, each of which may have multiple identities in the past (not allowed for setting up Facebook accounts).  They  Gere as the veteran CIA agent and Grace as a preppie, ivy league FBI agent, with a nice family no less, come together to solve the garroting of a senator in Washington.

There’s a lot of history going back to the last years of the Soviet Union, but they may turn out to be a diversion.  Much of the film takes place in Washington, but the film was shot around Detroit. Unfortunately, there’s a lot here shown that incorrect about Washington (you can’t drive in front of the White House on PA Ave, and there are no trailer parks on the Potomac in the city).  A lot of the film would make more sense if some of the fights and chases late in the film were transplanted to Michigan.

There is a secondary villain, who looks a bit like Hannibal (without Anthony Hopkins). 

There’s another question: could someone like Ben really set up a family and become a dedicated father if his hinted “backstory” were really true.   CIA boss Tom (Martin Sheen ["The Way", Oct. 12 here] is taken in enough to want to hire Ben (maybe as a double agent). There is some curious talk toward the end of “rejecting the null hypothesis” that AP statistics teachers could have fun with.

This film is no closer to the depiction of the CIA in my script than either of the two previous films I reviewed here. 

The official site for the film is this

(Image Entertainment and Imagine Entertainment seem to be separate companies.)


Update: March 15, 2014

Rewatched, the film had not made enough of an impression for me to remember.

Today it seems more relevant, given Putin's recent behavior, that an assassin could be a double agent for the Russians today.  At the end, the conversation in Russian between Geary and Sheperdson sounds bizarre, like the Russians were planning to plant a community here and tale over the country.

In fact, it's possible to imagine that Putin would place double agents like these characters (after all, they both are such) in the Ukraine or Crimea today;  maybe other NATO countries.



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