Ashok Amritraj Produces Spy Drama Featuring Twists, Turns, and a Russian Bad Guy
The Cold War slowly disappeared from Hollywood’s radar for a bit, what with films such as Red Dawn, Top Gun, The Manhattan Project, Rocky IV, and WarGames now distant memories. This weekend, the Cold War is hip again, as Ashok Amritraj’s Hyde Park Entertainment renews U.S.-Russia tensions in Michael Brandt’s The Double (starring Richard Gere, Topher Grace, and Stephen Moyer).
To be fair, the Cold War was broached in films such as Martin Scorsese’s Shutter Island, Matthew Vaughn’s X-Men: First Class, and Zack Snyder’s Watchmen. Yet, The Double is reminiscent of an era of films produced between 1960 and 1990, where spies such as James Bond and Jack Ryan jetted from city to city in order to prevent the world from turning red. Just as then, The Double presents a cat-and-mouse chase between U.S. clandestine operatives and villainous Russian rogues -- of course, with a modern twist.
That modern twist is based in the actual reality of various news reports of strained relations between U.S. and the land formerly known as the Soviet Union. In fact, coinciding with the commencement of principal photography were extensive news reports of the blown cover of a pair of Russian spies who penetrated deep into American intelligence. Accordingly, the present day affairs of state still serve as a quirky reminder that, while the Cold War dominated headlines when cans of Vidal Sassoon hairspray were filling shelves, the tense foreign relations that defined an entire generation of Americans has not disappeared from the lexicon.
Beyond the stroll down memory lane to a form of filmmaking that once was, The Double features an intriguing cast of actors who help make Mr. Brandt’s spy thriller a convincing tale. Mr. Gere portrays Paul -- a retired CIA agent who unsuccessfully trailed an elusive Russian spy for decades, only to have him shore up again in light of a senator’s assassination.
Ben (Mr. Grace) manages to lure Paul back onto the hunt for the Soviet assassin, though the latter presents the former with a paradox: though the assassin’s M.O. is all over the crime scene, the senator’s death may have actually been the work of a copycat, as Cassius (the assassin) is himself dead.
As the duo follows a trail of leads that may result in the answers they need to solve the assassination, Paul must constantly stay one step ahead of Ben to hide the ultimate secret -- the former is not exactly who he appears. And in stepping one step ahead, Paul himself discovers that Ben is holding a few key secrets of his own.
Through a series of unexpected twists and unpredictable turns, The Double plays out until the truest of realities makes itself evident to both Ben and Paul.
Mr. Gere returns to the big screen with a bang in The Double, convincingly portraying a wily spy who is as conniving and manipulative as he is jaded and resigned. Contrasting him is Mr. Grace, who is solid as the apparently jubilant and naïve rookie agent who happens to have a few skeletons stowed away in his closet. Equally solid is Mr. Moyer, who plays quite a treacherous Russian villain.
The Double is ultimately an entertaining, taut thriller with plenty of surprising twists and turns that are sure to keep audiences on the edges of their seats. Also starring Martin Sheen, Tamer Hassan, Odette Annable, and Stana Katic, The Double opens on October 28, 2011.
Fans of The Double will also like: Three Days of the Condor, Patriot Games, The Parallax View
Reasons to like The Double: Twists and Turns, Taut Thriller, Spy Film