Ain't It Cool News (

Massawyrm falls madly in love with the incredible DUPLICITY!!

Hola all. Massawyrm here. Wow. Easily the best non-Oscar holdover film released this quarter, Tony Gilroy’s sophomore directorial effort DUPLICITY continues his trend as an exceedingly gifted filmmaker hellbent on exposing the evils of the corporate world. It is an incredible film, a brilliantly layered love story wrapped around a note perfect Heist film with all the sharp catchy banter you’d expect from a Soderbergh Ocean’s movie, but with none of the fluff. Unbelievably smart, this film never relies upon formula and continually surprises you, right on through to its killer ending. Clive Owen and Julia Roberts once again earn their reputations and deliver an incredible amount of chemistry in this twisted, yet endearing love story. They play dueling agents, an unlikely pair brought together through their jobs and given the opportunity to use their talents for an incredible gain. But as they delve deeper and deeper into the world of corporate espionage, it becomes murky as to who is actually running a game on whom. And as the two continually test one another, they are forced to ask whether or not they should be involved in a relationship with someone as treacherous and dubious as themselves. Unlike Gilroy’s previous film, MICHAEL CLAYTON, the film focuses upon very likable bad guys. Sure, when you look at everyone in this film and boil them down, every last one of them is a backstabbing piece of shit. Just like in MICHAEL CLAYTON. But Gilroy playfully makes you adore each of them for their quirks and charisma as much as you love them for cleverness. The dialog is razor sharp, the characters crisp and refreshing and the pacing spot on. You get information only when it is the most poignant to the story, when its revelation expands your understanding of the depth of the con/heist and the relationship growing out of it. It is a film so perfect, so tightly constructed that I dare not spoil a single second of it. The opening will grab you and the credit sequence will set you up for the comedy to follow. Because this is a comedy. It is fun. And while I hesitate to call it a dark comedy, it certainly isn’t bright and shiny. But it will send you out of the theater with a smile on your face, punch drunk off of the excellence of such an original and well crafted film. Every time you think you have this figured out and predict what will happen next, the film sharply turns, leaving you constantly unsure of where you are headed next – and just as it settles down again WHAM! You’re blindsided. This film is incredible, simply incredible. A mature, wonderful, elegantly told tale that will cement Gilroy in the minds of the film loving public as one of the up and coming greats, DUPLICITY is this season’s unexpected surprise. Gilroy’s last film was criminally underseen (despite the best efforts of those involved) and I find this film to be stronger, instantly rewatchable and far and away better. You must, must, must see this at your earliest opportunity. Until next time friends, smoke ‘em if ya got ‘em. Massawyrm
Got something for the Wyrm? Mail it here.

Readers Talkback
comments powered by Disqus
    + Expand All
  • March 13, 2009, 8:22 a.m. CST


    by Kharank

    About time...

  • March 13, 2009, 8:24 a.m. CST

    Clive Owen

    by Kharank

    Good to hear Owen is on form in this. He's great in Closer, and Croupier, and not too bad in Children of Men, but sometimes he just misses the mark for me. Hope this is a good'un.

  • March 13, 2009, 8:27 a.m. CST

    Clayton was overrated

    by chetedawg

    If you take away Clooney's bankable likeability, Wilkinson's bat shit crazyness and Poitier, the movie was a standard courtroom drama. And Tilda Swanson is just good at playing a Cold cunty character, but not good enough to win an oscar

  • March 13, 2009, 8:29 a.m. CST


    by Stuntcock Mike

    Excellent film.

  • March 13, 2009, 8:31 a.m. CST

    Thanks, Massa

    by Cobbio

    Cool to read such a glowingly positive review for a movie that looked pretty good in the trailer. Once I saw "A Film by Tony Gilroy" (or something like that), I watched it again.<p> Can't wait.

  • March 13, 2009, 8:32 a.m. CST

    Julia Roberts must die.

    by HoboCode

    I want to see this but I just can't stomach her.

  • March 13, 2009, 8:35 a.m. CST


    by chrth

    Oh, wait, what? Massa? Is that you?

  • March 13, 2009, 8:51 a.m. CST


    by BizarroJerry

    I'll be a bit more subtle here that HoboCode was... :) But in my experience, for every person who loves Julia Roberts, you'll also find someone who's irritated by her.

  • March 13, 2009, 8:55 a.m. CST

    hate this title

    by walrusholder

  • March 13, 2009, 8:59 a.m. CST

    Fuck Julia Roberts

    by Tell_Your_Mom_I_Said_Hi

    Her stupid joker smile, annoying face, and nausea-inducing laugh. I'm already sick of this movie, and I haven't even seen it yet. Glad you liked it tho, Massa. Heh.

  • March 13, 2009, 8:59 a.m. CST

    Yeah, but he loved Taken, so what does that say?

    by coconutgroves

    Taken was 2 hours and $20 bucks I'll never get back, thanks to listening to Massa's review. You blew that one Massa.

  • March 13, 2009, 9:06 a.m. CST

    When is Clive Owen NOT taking down evil corporations?

    by Royston Lodge

    Really getting tired of Owen's "James Bond for the Common Man" schtick.

  • March 13, 2009, 9:06 a.m. CST

    Roberts Sucks, Owen Rules

    by chetedawg

    which is why Closer is in my top 5 all time. Owen flat out makes Roberts look like the cunt whore she is. 'nuff said.

  • March 13, 2009, 9:07 a.m. CST

    And Julia Roberts...

    by Royston Lodge

    ...looks like a pontoon plane landed on her face.

  • March 13, 2009, 9:26 a.m. CST

    Julia Roberts......

    by Judge_Dredd

    Will never watch any film with her in it.

  • March 13, 2009, 9:26 a.m. CST

    That review was written in 6 minutes flat, yes?

    by Dr_James_Wilson

    If you're gonna fall all over a flick in adoration - a flick that MOST OF US rolled our eyes at the instant we saw the first TV spot - then it might be a better idea to get a wee bit more expansive about it in your review. 5 paragraphs? Really? Dude, you usually write, like, 12. I demand a rewrite!

  • March 13, 2009, 9:28 a.m. CST

    Julia Roberts is gorgeous

    by Get_Me_An_18-Man_Fire_Team_In_12_Hours


  • March 13, 2009, 9:30 a.m. CST

    That's all I need.

    by AgentArchangel

    I had a good feeling about this trailer, and if you happen to like it then it's at least worth a look. I'm surprised at how breezy the review is though. No love for Giamatti/Wilkinson?

  • March 13, 2009, 9:30 a.m. CST

    "a...filmmaker hellbent on exposing the evils of the corporate w

    by SutureSelf

    Is it really "exposing" when you're just making it up?

  • March 13, 2009, 9:34 a.m. CST

    Tongue in cheek

    by ForkTongue

    Is this review for real? It sounds so fake Massa. Are you trying to get your name on a commercial? <p> "It is a film so perfect, so tightly constructed that I dare not spoil a single second of it." Massawyrm, <p> "This film is incredible, simply incredible." Massawyrm,

  • March 13, 2009, 9:40 a.m. CST

    I really liked Multiplicity

    by iamnicksaicnsn

    Especially when the stupid clone is cloned. At least, I liked it back in the day. When I was young.

  • March 13, 2009, 9:40 a.m. CST

    Michael Clayton was crimminally underseen? WTF?

    by Spandau Belly

    For your standard John Grisham formula movie about dude-who-should-know-better-by-this-age finally figuring out that he's part of a scummy web of intrigue then getting chased around a bunch I think it got waaaayyyyyy more attention than it deserved. It even teamed up with Juno to rob Assassination of Jesse James and Zodiac of their rightful Oscar nominations.

  • March 13, 2009, 9:42 a.m. CST

    Criminally overseen?

    by Mr Gorilla

    I didn't say that.

  • March 13, 2009, 9:42 a.m. CST

    Michael Clayton was great.

    by HoboCode

    Not better than Zodiac, but great.

  • March 13, 2009, 10:19 a.m. CST

    Does the movie end with...

    by WS

    ...the corporation downsizing and firing a bunch of people to make up for its stolen money while Julia Roberts and Clive Owen fuck on a Yacht? Because that would be really funny.

  • March 13, 2009, 10:19 a.m. CST

    Is this review serious?

    by rainbowtrout1265

    The commercials I've seen for this make it look incredibly cheap and annoying.

  • March 13, 2009, 10:20 a.m. CST

    Julia Roberts is a cackling horseface

    by rainbowtrout1265

    She's extremely unattractive, imo. And that laugh is enough to cause you to leave the theater.

  • March 13, 2009, 10:20 a.m. CST

    What's with the new Stallone talkback being locked?

    by JuanSanchez


  • March 13, 2009, 10:21 a.m. CST

    Michael Clayton wasn't a backstabber.

    by TheLastCleric

    That was the point: Michael was the only one willing to do the right thing. (Excluding Arthur of course.)

  • March 13, 2009, 10:26 a.m. CST

    And for the record, Julia Roberts used to be gorgeous.

    by TheLastCleric

    Go back and watch her in Pretty Woman when she had curves and some meat to fill out her face. Then, like so many attractive but insecure starlets, she became an emaciated shell of her former self, giving her face a skeletal, harsh look that isn't very flattering. Kiera Knightly should be taking notes because that girl is absolutely beautiful but her insistence on being a ridiculous waif is going to make her look old and tired by the time she hits her 30’s.

  • March 13, 2009, 10:26 a.m. CST

    She Freaks Me Right the Fuck Out

    by Aquatarkusman

  • March 13, 2009, 10:27 a.m. CST


    by Squidgy_Faced_Vigilante

    Color me shocked. Saw the trailers for this and thought, Hrmm, not so good, not even barely a rental some day. This review intrigues me to the point of "bring the wife"-to-itness. She loves her some Julia Roberts, and if the movie rocks the way it sounds like it does, this could be a win-win for ol' squidgy. Fuck it, I'm going.

  • March 13, 2009, 10:33 a.m. CST

    What? I thought it was a romantic comedy.

    by Bjornegar

    That's how it's being marketed. Still, comparing it to the over-rated MICHAEL CLAYTON hasn't gotten me jonesing to line up either. Julia Roberts should be a drinking game. Every time she snorts with her maw wide open, you down a shot.

  • March 13, 2009, 10:42 a.m. CST

    Ocean's Vibe

    by Buzz_Aldrin

    I also got that from the trailer. Looks like the same energy Ocean's 12 (the best Ocean's) had. Wanna see this, even though i also thought Michael Clayton was nothing special...

  • March 13, 2009, 11:05 a.m. CST

    This movie's also marketed the wrong way.

    by Royston Lodge

    If the ads focused way less on Roberts and Owens, and focused way more on Paul Giamatti and Tom Wilkinson, I'd be way more inclined to drop $10 to go see it. Universal really should have marketed it as an ensemble cast, rather than as a vehicle for two "stars". As it is, the trailer's quick glimpse of Giamatti and Wilkinson was the only thing that gave me any interest in the flick. I so really want to see how the CEO characters go at each other. A better trailer would have set up the premise by focusing on the CEOs for the first 80 seconds and then set up the resolution by revealing the ex-spies in the last 70 seconds. But then again, I don't rule the world . . . yet . . .

  • March 13, 2009, 11:17 a.m. CST

    I never thought Julia Roberts was gorgeous.

    by Royston Lodge

    Even in Pretty Woman I thought she looked like a pontoon plane had landed on her face. I have never been able to get past those Steven Tyler/Mick Jagger lips of hers. I certainly have never understood why so many women have endured bad plastic surgery to get similar lips. Bleah. If we're going solely on looks here, give me an actress with Clara Bow lips any day of the week, like Jenny Garth, or Emma Watson, or Larissa Oleynik, or Natalie Dormer. Oh yeah...

  • March 13, 2009, 11:22 a.m. CST

    Elitist jerks saying that GOOD movies are OVERRATED

    by Dr Gregory House

    is overrated. Oh, and...Julia Roberts is a bitch!

  • March 13, 2009, 11:36 a.m. CST


    by Cedar_Room

  • March 13, 2009, 11:38 a.m. CST


    by greyspecter

    the trailers looked like crap, a shallow retread of Mr. & Mrs. Smith that people would go to see solely for the stars and not because the plot was any good. I'm shocked at this review. Shocked. <p>ALso, whoever said Ocean's 12 was the best, is an idiot. And hasn't seen very many movies. That aren't on the MTV movie awards.

  • March 13, 2009, 11:41 a.m. CST

    holy crap

    by pookerbug

    Someone will need to write a Sarcasm Detector browser plugin for you people.

  • March 13, 2009, 11:42 a.m. CST

    I Absolutely Hated, Hated, Hated

    by geektastic

    Michael Clayton, could barely get through it, so yes, I thought it was overrated. If that makes me an Elitist Jerk, so be it, I guess. I also am not a big fan of Julia Roberts. And as much as I love Clive Owen, I will not be seeing this mostly because it is from the director of Michael Clayton and stars Julia Roberts. But that's just my opinion.

  • March 13, 2009, 11:45 a.m. CST

    The trailer for this looks like fucking garbage.

    by NapoleonDynamite

    I'm having a hard time buying this review. Julia Roberts stinks up every inch of the trailer, and the cutesy-pie romantic "tension" between her and Owen just turns my fucking stomach. A movie about corporate baddies could be very interesting, but throwing in a nauseating, pointless romantic subplot just smears too much shit all over it, especially with an overrated hack like Julia Roberts. I have never gotten the appeal of that chick. I don't think she's ever been especially hot -- I honestly believe my own wife is more attractive than she is -- and she can't act her way out of a wet paper bag. I've never found her convincing as any character she's ever played. That Oscar she got was a studio gift, plain and simple. Plus, when is the last time she was in anything that even made money? Why is she considered such a big star? She's had like one hit movie in her life.

  • March 13, 2009, 11:57 a.m. CST

    Julia Roberts...

    by Darth Macchio

    Agree totally with the skinny hideous thing. It was really bad in the first Ocean's when Damon's character is describing the 'best part of his day' is watching this emaciated trainwreck of a woman walk by. this skeletor woman we're all magically supposed to think is beautiful when she's apparently wearing her eating disorder on her sleeves (seriously, go and watch the last few scenes of Ocean 12 with her and Clooney in the car...she is fucking skeletor in that movie and it's freaky. If JR from Ocean's 11 walked by, I wouldn't even look at her twice. I kept thinking someone should show her to the kraft services table and handcuff her to it until she eats at least a couple sandwiches.<p>I certainly don't mean to make light of eating disorders but seriously ladies, the only people who think being a skin wrapped skeleton is sexy are gay fashion designers and other women. I've never met one guy who finds that protruding bones think remotely attractive much less fucking scary looking.<p>But yet, when she's got some meat on her she does look good (see Pretty Woman or even more recent The Mexican).<p>Same for Cameron Diaz..."Head Above Water" she's not a toothpick and she looks beautiful in every way but then she decides she needs to weigh 97lbs and looks like a freakin weirdo half 11 year old girl, half 33 year old woman in the shitty Charlie's Angels movies. WTF?! And yes Kiera Knightly is in danger of looking like a walking toothpick with an orange for a head (fucking somebody get her a damn sandwich! eat! eat! eat!).<p>Shallow? Of course! Lies? Hmmm...meh, opinions.

  • March 13, 2009, 12:04 p.m. CST

    I want to see this, but I hate Julia Roberts so much that I won'

    by TheMark

    Fuck horses.

  • March 13, 2009, 12:07 p.m. CST

    Thanks for not spoiling it, Massa.

    by LoneGun

    Your review has just amped up my desire to see this one. Personally, I thought MICHAEL CLAYTON was the best film of 2007, and Gilroy is one of THE filmmakers to watch out for right now. I'm not always crazy about Julia Roberts, but she and Clive Owen played great off one another in CLOSER. With the right material, and surrounded by the right talent, she can really surprise at times.

  • March 13, 2009, 12:22 p.m. CST

    Julia Roberts was smoking hot in Mystic Pizza

    by codereduk

    With those knee high boots, GAWDDAWM!<p> And, the trailer for this looks horrible. So, either Massa is spending the allowance the studio is paying him on pot-laced-cupcakes, or the film is completely, totally marketed wrong.<p> Neither would surprise me

  • March 13, 2009, 12:31 p.m. CST

    But does Owen call her a " fucked-up slag?"

    by bravogolfhotel

    Because if not, I may have to demote this to a rental.

  • March 13, 2009, 12:35 p.m. CST

    Pretty Woman.

    by HoboCode

    Pretty well known fact that Julia used a body double in that movie.

  • March 13, 2009, 12:39 p.m. CST


    by SomaShine

    "Wow. Easily the best non-Oscar holdover film" /// "It is a film so perfect" /// "This film is incredible, simply incredible"...That's how you start 3 paragraphs of this review..are you shitting us?? How about telling us WHY in just one of the paragraphs, other than generalities that make you sound like a fucking 5th grader doing a book report on a book you didnt read

  • March 13, 2009, 12:42 p.m. CST

    That's the funny thing about weight and the camera...

    by Royston Lodge

    As folk get older, even if they don't actually gain any weight the camera still makes them look like they're gaining weight. The camera really amplifies the effect that gravity has over time on a person's face. So, if a performer wants to remain to appear "normal" on camera as they get older, they have to get stupid thin. This phenomenon was really illustrated for me by a certain female tv personality in Toronto. She's always been a really cute, "normal-sized" (ie, curvy but not in a Pam Anderson sort of way), on-screen personalily who is put up as a healthy role model for girls, and who many dudes secretly lust over as an archtypical "yummy mummy", sort of MILF. Then, one day I saw her on the street shooting a segment. It was DISTURBING how thin she actually was! It was hard to believe it was the same person. On camera she looked like the girl-next-door but in real-life she looked like Skeletor. Weeeird. Think back to how healthy Jennifer Aniston and Lisa Kudrow looked in the first season of Friends, and then how they look positively dessicated by the end of the last season. Sad, but true. Maybe if 3D becomes a standard format this trend can be reversed, since 3D doesn't distort the face in the same way as a regular camera.

  • March 13, 2009, 12:45 p.m. CST

    Tony Gilroy?

    by Tin Snoman

    I'm in. Even if Julia Roberts is in it. Hopefully he coaxed a good performance out of that horseface. Michael Clayton was a great film, and anyone who disagrees just does it to be contrary.

  • March 13, 2009, 1:09 p.m. CST

    Does Owne say, "She touched my peppy, Steve"

    by Thrillho77

    iamnicksaicnsn knows what I'm talking about!

  • March 13, 2009, 2:33 p.m. CST

    Watching Julia Roberts is like...

    by Charlie_Allnut

    Putting red hot pokers in my eyes. Needless to say i will not watch this. I like Clive Owen too, hell the premise doesn't even sound half bad. Nonetheless, I will never watch this.

  • March 13, 2009, 3:47 p.m. CST


    by The InSneider

    Is that Duplicity was a decent time at the movies but ultimately it was not a very good movie. That's because the entire thing feels like one long jerk-off with a twist ending. The Bourne movies are all overrated. Michael Clayton was overrated. And now Massa gloats over this one? Um, FYI, Tony Gilroy really isn't that good. The climax of the film where Julia has to send something to Clive in a very specific way is ridiculous, and Julia's character even addresses this later on. It IS cleverly constructed, just like Lucky Number Slevin, but it doesn't add up to all that much. Clive and Julia are fun to watch, and Tom Wilkinson and Paul Giamatti give the film great weight, but this is nothing more than a lightweight film, fun and breezy, perfect for the springtime, just don't think about it too long after because the whole thing is just foreplay with a surprising but ultimately unsatisfying ending.

  • March 13, 2009, 4:04 p.m. CST


    by johnnyangelheart

    Come on, Capone, you're laying it on a little thick. Perfect? I doubt it.

  • March 13, 2009, 4:19 p.m. CST

    No fucking Julia Roberts

    by photoboy

    Couldn't they have hired someone good?

  • March 13, 2009, 5:16 p.m. CST

    Surprising review. I figured this was another all-star /

    by CreasyBear

    no quality POS like The Mexican. I didn't know Gilroy was behind it, though, so I'll have to give it a shot.

  • March 13, 2009, 8:42 p.m. CST

    fuck juila roberts!!!!!!!!

    by stringerbell

    she robbed Ellen Burstyn of that oscar in Requiem for a Dream il never forgive her

  • March 13, 2009, 9:29 p.m. CST

    Formula for me skipping a movie.

    by Sithtastic

    Overrated to the tenth power Julia Roberts + tired corporate allegory + Clive Owen, who should know better than too get too many projects like this = Sithtastic saves 10 bucks.

  • March 13, 2009, 10:42 p.m. CST

    trailer looked terrible. Mr and Mrs Smith part 2

    by BMacSmith

    might check it out for a rental later.

  • March 13, 2009, 11:50 p.m. CST

    wow Massa, that's some pretty strong hyperbole

    by cyrent

    I hope it's accurate, as you have just raised my expectations for this film by several notches.

  • March 14, 2009, 12:03 a.m. CST

    Is it noteworthy...

    by greyspecter

    ...that Massa hasn't jumped in here to defend the integrity of his review? Does this mean that he was hoodwinking us? Anyone who's seen as many movies as Massa must've surely can tell a boring, formulaic comedy of errors misadventure destined for TBS over a quality story of well drawn and realistic characters, can't they? If he's serious about this, he loses all cred with me.

  • March 14, 2009, 12:23 a.m. CST

    by Buzz_Aldrin

    I didn't say Ocean's 12 was the best movie ever, greyspecter, i said it was the best Ocean's Whatever movie (which i think it is). I also second the motion of having Owen call Roberts a "fucked up slag" again.

  • March 14, 2009, 4:05 a.m. CST

    Julia Roberts is ugly

    by Toby_FN_Wong

    I never understood why some people say she is beautiful. Man, some people must have a very twisted view of what beauty is. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder? Man, the beholder must be having a warped vision.

  • March 14, 2009, 7:49 a.m. CST

    Clive Owen + Paul Giamatti - gun fights = kinda weird.

    by Darkman

    Still, this film looks pretty good.

  • March 14, 2009, 8:04 a.m. CST

    I saw the trailer for this...

    by emeraldboy

    awful. just awful. as is the movie from Clive Owen. the sub bourne sub bond knock off called the international. I have heard. Noami watts is in that one.

  • March 14, 2009, 9:41 a.m. CST

    The without the scene in the trailer where she picks up the tong

    by emeraldboy

    and says ill just put it back on. kills the movie stone dead. abit like that Failure to launch film or that hideous imagine me or you. those are movies which make you wonder how they got green lit.

  • March 14, 2009, 9:44 a.m. CST

    abit like judd apatow...

    by emeraldboy

    films. I sometimes wonder how they get green lit too or adam snadler films.

  • March 14, 2009, 9:52 p.m. CST

    All Roberts and Owen films are the same

    by Rand92

    They play the same characters in every movie almost. This may be a fun movie, I don't know, but let's not go crazy about how good Julia Roberts or Clive Owen is. Roberts may be the most overrated actress of all time. I can't stand Clive Owen's delivery and mannerisms. O wont diss a whole film without seeing it, but these two turn me off just hearing their names.

  • March 15, 2009, 2:10 a.m. CST

    Dirty Secret: Clayton sucked

    by criticalbliss

    Purely "boilerplate" bullshit buoyed by the intellectual elite's love of anything damning capitalism. The story was deeply flawed, with more than one dropped thread, and a predictable, dumbass Hollywood ending. With all the gloating reviews, I expected more from Clayton. Not even mildly entertaining. I sent Gilroy a bill for the time I wasted. Won't fool me again.

  • March 15, 2009, 7:34 a.m. CST

    At least the academy got something..

    by emeraldboy

    right. since her arrogant oscar win. roberts has been banished from the oscars show.

  • March 21, 2009, 1:53 a.m. CST

    Duplicity STUNK

    by CornSlice

    What a letdown! totally confusing. Everyone left theater scratching their heads. Julia and Clive nice to look at but that's it.

  • March 21, 2009, 5:57 p.m. CST

    Blindsided? No.

    by Geenius_at_Wrok

    I saw the Big Twist maybe 20 minutes into the film, as soon as it was set up. Don't get me wrong, the movie was fun, but it telegraphed its moves like an aging boxer.

  • April 18, 2009, 12:58 a.m. CST

    The Bench.

    by Mostholy

    I know this is a dead talkback now, but I saw the film a little late. Question: What's the significance of the marked bench? Clive marks it with white chalk, Julia sees it later that night...and then, as far as I could tell, it never comes up again. What'd I miss?