Charade

duplicity

A CIA gal and an MI5 guy, Claire and Ray, meet cute, fall in love, conspire to rip off their subsequent industrial espionage employers for 35 million bucks.

Sounds okay in the usual way, but I’ll tell you the nice thing about Duplicity: believe it or not, it delivers. Funny, engaging, with some “hurry! hurry!” suspense scenes (à la Rear Window), topped off with a Battling Bickersons romance powered by Julia Roberts as Claire and Clive Owens as Ray. Great line from Guy to Claire: “I think about you even when I’m with you.” Claire beams — which, as performed by Julia Roberts, is a lot of beaming.

Combine the sparring spy couple with the ultra-complicated heist of trade secrets and you wind up with a light-thriller along the lines of Charade or Undercover Blues, or what Mr. & Mrs. Smith tried to be but wasn’t. You ask, “Does it include lots of lovely vacation locations?” Well, what do you think? We get Rome, Miami, Bahamas, Zurich, New York, and Cleveland tossed in for laffs —  lots of vicarious travelling for these cash-strapped times.

All very nice, but what really makes Duplicity is what it doesn’t have:

  • Not one gunfight.
  • Nope, not even a gun.
  • No car chase.
  • No car crash.
  • No barely spandex-clad women with glowing eyes.
  • Not one guy wearing plastic abs and a mask with pointy ears.
  • No rock music.
  • No explosions.
  • If there was CGI, it didn’t announce itself.

In other words: a movie for grown-ups. Imagine that.

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