The new spy thriller The Double from writer/director Michael Brandt starring Golden Globe Winner Richard Gere and Topher Grace, shows massive potential before ultimately failing to excite the audience as its predictable twists and turns create a flat line of a thrills and spills.
Richard Gere plays “Paul Shepherdson,” a decorated CIA veteran who is threatened with professional embarrassment after a young hot shot FBI agent, Ben Geary (Topher Grace) insists the Russian assassin “Cassius,” who Shepherdson claimed to have killed years before is still alive. Paul, who spent his career chasing Cassius, is forced to take on the same case after a US senator is murdered bearing the same trademark of Cassius. Agent Geary, who wrote his thesis on Shepherdson’s pursuit of Cassius, re-opens the case and the two team up to investigate the whereabouts of the deadly assassin before realizing that everything may not be what it seems.
If you have seen the trailer to this film, many secrets are revealed in its short sequences, everything is also given away in the first 15 minutes of the film. Given that the identity of Cassius is one of the films big twists, it leaves little room to thrill the audience as Geary pores over case files and Shepherdson warns Geary’s family of the consequence of getting too close to a ruthless assassin. When another twist in the film comes (one that is also predictable) the viewer is left wondering why they didn’t walk out of the theater after the first fifteen minutes.
Writing partners Derek Haas and Michael Brandt have successfully brought thrill to the screen previously in 3:10 to Yuma and Wanted, however, the screenplay follows the basic formula of a typical thriller. Where there should be thrills and chills, there’s just predictable plot turns. While the film is quite a bore, the story comes around full circle answering every question the audience may or may not have had about every character and situation we observe.
It’s surprising to see Richard Gere starring in The Double because of the seemingly and blatantly obvious mediocre script. During the film he seems bored and disengaged which doesn’t help with the chemistry between him and Grace. Grace, trying extremely hard to be dramatic, is quite ineffective. All that is seen is his character Eric Foreman from ‘That 70s Show,” screeching with his high pitch voice and failing to deliver on nearly every note. Grace’s impeccable comedic timing and engaging dramatic side that has been seen before in his other works are wasted. Grace is without a doubt a decent actor, however, his obvious miscast as a big shot FBI agent never connects.
The only performance worth mentioning is Stephen Moyer, better known for his performance as “Bill” on HBO’s “True Blood,” is a pro at playing the villain but when his character was just getting interesting, he’s gone (Not a spoiler, just watch the trailer).
The Double is an unexciting mess of a thriller that does nothing more than produce a uneven script and bring two talented actors to deliver one of their least impressive performances to date. Unfortunate.