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Julia Roberts, Clive Owen, Tom Wilkinson, Paul Giamatti, Dan Daily ... see more see more... , Lisa Roberts Gillan , David Shumbris , Rick Worthy , Oleg Stefan , Denis O'Hare , Kathleen Chalfant , Khan Baykal , Tom McCarthy , Wayne Duvall , Fabrizio Brienza , Lucia Grillo , Carrie Preston , Conan McCarty , Kirby Mitchell , Christopher Denham , Christopher Mann

Closer co-stars Julia Roberts and Clive Owen reunite for Oscar-nominated director Tony Gilroy's drama tracing the illicit love affair between two spies-turned-corporate operatives. The Cold War has th... read more read more...awed, and for CIA agents seeking to make an easy mint, the real money is in multinational corporations. CIA officer Claire Stenwick (Roberts) and Ray Koval (Owen) are both racing to secure the formula for a product that will bring untold wealth to the company that lands the patent first as the stakes begin to rise, and their passions start to flare. Meanwhile, their mutual employers, industry giant Howerd Tully (Tom Wilkinson) and trailblazing CEO Dick Garsil (Paul Giamatti) start resorting to some seriously underhanded tactics in hope of gaining an advantage over the competition. Loners by definition of their own careers, Claire and Ray engage in a series of schemes and double-crosses while contending with the fact that their mutual attraction could ultimately jeopardize their entire missions. ~ Jason Buchanan, Rovi

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37% liked it

294,549 ratings


64% liked it

178 critics

DVD Release Date: August 25, 2009

Stats: 13,465 reviews

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Flixster Reviews (13,465)

  • August 11, 2012
    I read this recently: "Good writing takes the dull and makes it exciting; bad writing makes the exciting dull." It's hard to understand how this film fell so incredibly flat - as someone who's never been a Julia Roberts fan, it would be easy to start there, but really, she's no m... read moreore or less boring than I usually find her.

    I had heard terrible reviews, but this premise has so much potential: two spooks get involved in a borderline-impossible long-distance relationship and plan the Big Score Perfect Exit to be happy together. So what went wrong?

    Simple: Too. Bloody. Busy. In Owen's best roles (Children of Men, Inside Man), he says less, not more - and when he speaks, he makes people listen. In this film, you see his pain at trying to deliver the lines as written. Maybe it's a cliche of the genre - and of course, why not try to challenge a cliche? - but spies don't talk this way, or even this much. Spy/Thriller/Mystery films, as everyone from Poe to Chandler to Hitchcock has shown, are best delivered in clipped sentences and long silences, and not the chick-flicky expository speeches we see here.

    And when I say silences, I mean that the music in the background - if there is any - should be understated, or at the very least, anything but the distracting, look-at-how-intriguing-we're-being! soundtrack we get with this film, accompanied by the manic, 24-style multiple split screens. They fill the time just fine, but instead of building suspense, they - like most other bits of the film - merely delay resolution. A story that stalls this often - or worse, flashes back this often, to catch you up on the central relationship's backstory - doesn't inherently build intrigue, it just frustrates the audience.

    The worst part is, the plot is pretty good - a bit cliche, fine, but if you do it right, I'll always forgive you. The spies, because they're spies, can't trust each fully in work or in love; there's a lot there. But when the plot hits its climax - a time-sensitive search through an office to make a copy of a secret document - we spend forever watching the team trying to find a map, to locate the copier. It was downright uncomfortable, and not in the style of The Office; I think Gilroy might have thought this had comedic potential, but it's the prime example of the frequent frustration this bloated film causes, topped only by the very last scene: as the final shot fades away, and the silence would make the point, THE CHARACTERS KEEP TALKING... and one of the lines is "It's just that bad, huh?", to which the other character cops, "Yup." My girlfriend - an actor, in passing, with improv training - asked me if I thought they might have asked to adlib that scene, and slipped in some revenge on the writer. (She would never do that, but I think Clive and Julia could get away with it if they wanted to.)

    Suffice to say, it is: Just. That. Bad. The rom-com cliches undo the spy intrigue, and the spy story makes the rom-com-style exposition seem extraneous. Trying to hybridize these two genres is an ambitious experiment - something for everyone! Millions of dollars! - and all experiments are valuable for what we can learn from them... I mean, Casablanca was a pretty good spy/romance hybrid... but this film, on the other hand, only taught us a lot because of its colossal failure.
  • March 12, 2012
    This con thriller reunites Clive Owen and Julia Roberts after their great chemistry in "Closer" and they're immediately back on track. Both are playing former spies now working for multinational corporations. Whether they are allies or opponents, love or hate each other remains u... read morencertain for the longest time. Fact is, their scenes together are a pleasure. The dialogs are fast and spot-on and even though the beginning of the film is a tad confusing about what exactly is going on, things get clearer and more exciting by the minute. The rest of the cast is great too, especially Paul Giamatti and Tom Wilkinson. The opening sequence of them fighting in slow-motion is hilarious. With the flashbacks of Claire and Ray's meetings getting closer and closer to the actual time of the plot, we slowly see through the maze of bluffs, double-bluffs and cons and still the end hits you entirely surprising. A smart, highly entertaining and engaging film that requires its audience's attention but really pays off in the end.
  • January 13, 2012
    No one is more surprised than me that I actually enjoyed this one.
    I guess I am not a real girl because I tend to not like Julia Roberts's movies at all (Pretty Woman? Ack! Notting Hill? Pass me a bucket). But this - this is actually a decent role for her! She plays a spy who g... read moreets involved with another spy - its kind of romantic in between the double crossing and bitching.
    The movie itself is stylish and nicely filmed. I liked the split screen parts as it flashes back in time - those parts worked really well.
    The plot itself was a little complicated and I am not entirely sure I "got" all the twists, but this kept me interested and I did not see the ending coming.
    Worth a look, glad I saw it.
  • September 19, 2011
    It's funny, half way through this film I became quite frustrated, I felt it was getting quite repetitive and you could tell the ending would have only one of two possible outcomes and I wasn't really fussed by either. This was true up until a point. I've never changed my mind so ... read morequickly and so drastically about an ending as I have for this film. Disappointment was followed very quickly by fulfilment, laughter and a sort of sense of relief. Tony Gilroy's directing style is impressive too, I don't think he totally pulled off the split-screen scenes particularly well but on the whole the rest of the film was pretty stylish. Certainly not a perfect film, not as good as Michael Clayton but the love/hate ending really made it worth it for me.
  • March 25, 2011
    This film has it's good and bad points. The plot, twist and some of the dialogue is enjoyable, along with the whole battle of trust. The film did feel dragged out though to the point that by the time the twist reveals, it doesn't quite make the impact it should do.

    It is typ... read moreically "Hollywood" and typically Julia Roberts.
  • August 15, 2010
    Better known for his screenwriting duties like the "Bourne" trilogy, Tony Gilroy can certainly concoct a spy tale or two and here he uses his talents again. After cutting his Directorial teeth on the tense and gripping "Michael Clayton", Gilroy crafts another corporate espionage ... read moreyarn but to lesser effects this time round.
    Owen and Roberts play two British and American agents respectively. They specialise in playing people and retrieving very important information for their greedy fat-cat employers. Being so good at what they do and also sharing a close and intimate relationship they decide to team up and make a big play that will keep them financially secure for the rest of their lives. The problem is...can they trust each other?
    Gilroy goes for a more gentler and slightly humorous and playful approach this time. The film looks wonderful, with lavish international locations and all basked in sunshine and champagne, setting the tone for the grand caper. He doesn't go for the dark, atmospheric and dangerous tone that he used to magnificent effect in "Michael Clayton" and unfortunately employs the services of Miss Roberts with her big, teethy grin and lack of range. These are Gilroy's first mistakes. Owen carries himself well, all-be-it his usual fare but it's a role that would previously be better suited to Steve McQueen, Cary Grant or by today's standards, George Clooney - who you get the impression this may have been intended for. Also, the casting of Paul Giamatti and Tom Wilkinson as rival corporate businessmen at each others throats is potential genius. I say "potential" because this is one the films strongest points but doesn't utilise it and has these two great actors distant from each other for most of the film, despite a brilliant slow motion brawl between them at the beginning of the movie. Speaking of which, the beginning of the film is so strong that the rest pales in comparison. The actors put in fine performances but it all becomes a little convoluted without any real delivery of satisfaction. Surely an espionage film that has been running rings around the characters and the audience should end with a bang? This sadly dragged me into their games, promised so much, yet delivered so little.
  • July 29, 2010
    Tony Gilroy is such a talented writer/director. His debut feature "Michael Clayton" is one of my favorite films and his follow-up, "Duplicity", is a step down, but still a neat movie. It's plot, while constantly involving and always keeps the viewer on their toes, is just too com... read moreplicated in the end. While I certainly didn't mind it, I know others will. The movie has some beautiful images (courtesy of master DP Robert Elswit), one of the best scores James Newton Howard has every conducted, and two crackerjack performances from the incomparable Julia Roberts and dashing Clive Owen. If you are in the mood for a heady, witty, adult caper; then "Duplicity" is right up your alley.
  • July 21, 2010
  • April 23, 2010
    Two former spies find themselves working for rival multi-national pharmaceutical corporations and the two set about joining forces to steal the secret of a revolutionary new product. I was a big fan of Gilroy's previous film Michael Clayton, and although it's probably fairer to j... read moreudge this on its own merit rather than comparing the two, I'm going to do it anyway. So sue me. I like Clive Owen, but I think it's fair to say that he doesn't have the range of Clooney and as for the comparison between between Tilda Swinton and Skeletor Roberts, well there isn't one. It treads the same ground as Clayton, but whereas when the credits rolled for that film I felt like I'd seen something thought provoking and insightful, here I just had an overwhelming sense of "so what?" The obligatory jazz soundtrack and retro cut ins were all in effect but somehow it isn't quite the same when the "big score" is shampoo. An inoffensive way to spend a couple of hours, but in the end it's a bit difficult to care; especially since the final "twist" is so glaringly obvious. Essentially its as if Gilroy took the body of Michael Clayton, scooped out all the guts and brains and replaced them with candy floss.
  • April 20, 2010
    Duplicity is a perfect example of a trailer advertising a movie that's not really there. The trailer boasted a fun date movie with a little bit of intrigue riding on an Ocean's Eleven vibe. What we get instead is a movie with a lot of tension (sexual and otherwise) and next to no... read morene of the fun the trailer implied. The chemistry between Clive Owen and the usually loathsome Julia Roberts is passable. Then there's the matter of Tom Wilkinson and Paul Giamatti who get so little screen time that they must certainly feel compelled to weird it up to make up for the fact that they're barely in the movie. Considering that Tony Gilroy's previous outing Michael Clayton (which also dealt with corporate espionage) was such a monster, its really disappointing that Duplicity is such a letdown. There are certainly worse movies out there but this should've been so much better...

Critic Reviews

James Berardinelli
April 30, 2009
James Berardinelli, ReelViews

When it comes to spy thrillers, Tony Gilroy knows the game. Full Review

Ben Lyons
March 23, 2009
Ben Lyons, At the Movies

With Duplicity [Gilroy is] developing a nice body of work. Full Review

Ben Mankiewicz
March 23, 2009
Ben Mankiewicz, At the Movies

Gilroy keeps it all moving at a steady, stylish pace. Full Review

David Denby
March 23, 2009
David Denby, New Yorker

Duplicity is an enormously enjoyable hybrid, a romantic comedy set at the center of a caper movie. Full Review

David Edelstein
March 23, 2009
David Edelstein, New York Magazine/Vulture

It's a passably amusing brainteaser. Full Review

Peter Rainer
March 23, 2009
Peter Rainer, Christian Science Monitor

For all the glam and swank, the film is essentially a bright, shiny, empty puzzle. The puzzlemaking by writer-director Tony Gilroy is clever but most frequently an end in itself. Full Review

Christopher Orr
March 20, 2009
Christopher Orr, The New Republic

Like the carnal encounter with which it opens, it's a film that goes through the motions, and while those motions are frequently pleasurable, we, like Owen, are ultimately left disappointed. Full Review

Dan Kois
March 20, 2009
Dan Kois, Washington Post

A pleasant big-studio diversion, a screwball romance with beautiful movie stars set in gorgeous hotel rooms, deluxe office spaces and corporate jets. It's smart, it's for grown-ups and it lets Julia R... Full Review

Mike Clark
March 20, 2009
Mike Clark, USA Today

With its smart writing delivered by an in-synch quartet, savor Duplicity as the ideal spring gift. Full Review

Peter Howell
March 20, 2009
Peter Howell, Toronto Star

[Director Gilroy's] determined to put some smarts into the world of double crosses and double martinis, and bless him for that. Full Review

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    • Claire Stenwick: If I told you I loved you, would it make any difference?
    • Ray Koval: If you told me or if I believed you?
    • Richard 'Dick' Garsik: Who writes with a fountain pen? How friggin' pretentious is that?
    • Ray Koval: Then you seduce me, then you drug me and ransack my hotel room.

Duplicity : Watch Free on TV

Duplicity Trivia

  • The tale of the Corpse Bride in "Corpse Bride" has plenty of elements. Which of these is NOT one of them?   Answer »
  • Who plays the female lead in the 2009 film Duplicity?  Answer »
  • Which male actor plays the lead in 2009's Duplicity?  Answer »
  • His 2009 films include Cold Souls, Duplicity, The Last Station, & The Haunted World of El Superbeasto.  Answer »

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