A "Hell" of a Task
Latif is surgically altered to be more of a look-alike than he already is. That being not enough, he is given unrestricted access to all of Uday’s worldly belongings, but for the price of being a part of the murderous and torturous life that he has to lead to keep up appearances. Latif, though unmoved in the beginning, now feels really constricted, and the good man in him has begun to rebel. The pressure of playing the double is mounting upon him and now he has an added complication of having slept with Uday’s mistress, which is completely forbidden.
Dominic Cooper lights up every scene he’s in, which is pretty much all the time, and he dominates the screen with his methodical acting. He is faced with an almost impossible task of playing three different roles: as Uday, as Latif, and as Latif impersonating Uday. He does them so brilliantly, it’s almost unbelievable that it has been the same man showing up on the screen.
Though there are quite a few hard-to watch scenes, there’s a lot less menace than a person would normally expect. Unlike the book, where Yahia could stop and explain what was running through his mind at any given moment, the movie gives no rest to the storyline to explain some of the finer aspects of it. The romance with the untouchable mistress looks almost force and shoehorned-in.
This one’s not the most earnest or the most "right on target" movie that you’ll see about Saddam and his reign of terror, but it definitely provides a fresh outlook on one of the Middle East’s most brutal dictator.