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The Devil’s Double & Footloose (2011)

by on March 3, 2012

The Devil’s Double

Baghdad, the playground for the rich and infamous, where anything can be bought – but for a price. This is Uday Hussein’s world and with his depraved lust for debauchery and immorality, he helps himself to whatever turns him on. When army lieutenant Latif Yahia is summoned to Saddam’s palace, he is faced with an impossible request – to be Uday’s ‘fiday’ – his body double, or have his family condemned to death. In a world entrenched in betrayal and corruption, knowing who to trust becomes a matter of life or death for Latif, as he battles to escape from his forced existence. (Taken from imdb.com)

To begin with, I decided to watch this movie because of a misunderstanding. I had heard incredible things about Dominic Cooper’s performance in this film, playing both Uday Hussein and Latif Yahia. For some reason I thought he was the guy from The Wire (Dominic West), who is awesome. However, even after my initial disappointment, I managed to settle in and enjoy the experience. The critics were definitely right in lauding Cooper’s performance, as the film would’ve been much less interesting with a worse performance. The whole film centers on the two different men and how they change and evolve through near limitless power and corruption.

I thought the story very refreshing, as it was a topic I didn’t really know much about. I lived in the US at the time of the first Iraq war, and I remember watching green-tinted warfare on the news each night. Uday Hussein had grown up almost in the same manner as princes in medieval times, with carte blanche to do whatever he wanted. Spoiled, sociopathic and buck-toothed, Uday is shown as a complete monster, while Latif is his opposite in almost every way. Having to witness such horrible things every day takes its toll on him, and it’s interesting to watch him cope with his increasingly guilty conscience over failing to act. Good movie if you’re interested in that part of history, and great performance by Cooper, but still doesn’t rise above ‘ok.’

Footloose (2011)

When teenager Ren moves from big-city Chicago to a small town in the West, he’s in for a real case of culture shock. Though he tries hard to fit in, the streetwise Ren can’t quite believe he’s living in a place where rock music and dancing are illegal. There is one small pleasure, however: Ariel, a troubled but lovely blonde with a minister for a father, who is responsible for keeping the town dance-free. Ren and his classmates want to do away with this ordinance, especially since the senior prom is around the corner, but only Ren has the courage to initiate a battle to abolish the outmoded ban and revitalize the spirit of the repressed townspeople.  (Taken from imdb.com)

I hadn’t seen the 1984 version of Footloose until recently, and I quite enjoyed it as a throwback to the 80s. This new version sounded like a horrible idea when I heard about it, as nobody can fill the shoes of the great Kevin Bacon. Just a slight exaggeration, but you get the point. As a story, it can be just as fitting today, with infringement of civil liberties and the role of religion in government still being hot topics. The music has been updated to a certain degree, with some hip hop numbers thrown in, and the Kenny Loggins classic that the film is named after is slightly revamped. They remained mostly true to the original storyline and feeling of the ’84 version, even having a “learning to dance” montage that was a great throwback to the simpler films of yesteryear.

While nothing about this film is very good; the acting is mostly bland, the story is clichéd and no risks are taken at any point of the production process, it’s still fun. I might be a bit biased because I like musicals/dance movies, but for 113 odd minutes I turned off my brain and just plain enjoyed myself. Movies shouldn’t always be intellectual challenges, sometimes they should be unadulterated entertainment. Kenny Wormald is no Kevin Bacon, but Julianne Hough is a whole lot hotter than Lori Singer. Yes please.

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