MOVIE: ***1/2 (out of 5)
BLU-RAY EXPERIENCE: *** (out of 5)
BY KEVIN CARR
Even though “The Double” got a theatrical release, it was so severely limited and short-lived that this might as well be a direct-to-DVD film. And with those movies, it’s a crap shoot in terms of quality. Sometimes it results in a humdrum film that feels most at home in a late-night cable line-up. Other times, it can be surprisingly entertaining.
When it comes to “The Double,” the latter was the case for me. And that’s a pleasant thing to have happen as it breaks with the normal way of things.
“The Double” stars Richard Gere as retired CIA agent Paul Shepherdson, who once spent his career tracking a brilliant assassin named Cassius. When a U.S. Senator is assassinated, he’s brought back into the agency to track Cassius once again. Along for the ride is young agent Ben Geary (Topher Grace), who has spent years studying both Cassius and Shepherdson’s methods. As they work to track the assassin, they both discover some harrowing truths about the man behind the Cassius name.
First, this film is to be commended for its production value. While made on a relatively slim budget, it still has the slick look of an international thriller. The technical side looks and sounds great, with tight editing and solid pacing.
But beyond just the look and feel of the movie, which holds up against bigger productions that get wider releases, “The Double” also tells a neat little story. I’m not going to say that this film has a completely unpredictable plot, but it also isn’t a bore. I may have seen some things coming in the story, but it was nonetheless interesting to watch things play out.
Gere and Grace work well against each other, giving off a adversarial vibe but without spraying the set with testosterone. It’s a slower burn than you’d expect from most CIA thrillers, and I’m okay with that. Also, it works enough outside of the box that it doesn’t feel like a random episode of some procedural television program. I appreciated that.
It’s not often that a movie comes across my desk that I’m happy to have seen. But with its limited release and very little to make it pop off a video story shelf (or catch my attention in my Netflix queue). So I’m pleasantly surprised and glad I had a chance to see it.
The Blu-ray comes with an audio commentary featuring writer/director Michael Brandt and writer/producer Derek Haas. There’s also a behind-the-scenes featurette and the original theatrical trailer.