Duplicity (2009)

Outwit. Outspy. Outsmart. Outplay. Then Get Out.

Duplicity is a 2009 movie that combines comedy, romance, and crime into one single grand scheme starring Julia Roberts and Clive Owen. Directed by Tony Gilroy, the film follows the story of corporate spies who partner up for the con project of the century. The film is set for a March 20, 2009 US release, and an earlier March 10, 2009 release in the UK.

PLOT

Claire Stenwick (Julia Roberts) and Ray Koval (Clive Owen) met at a party in Dubai five years ago, both of them smitten with each other, only for Claire, who turned out to be a CIA agent, to drug Ray and steal some classified from him.

Fast forward three years later, and Claire and Ray met again in Rome, where they spend several days together, dreaming of a heist that will make them rich, using their intelligence skills.

A few years after, Claire works at Burkett & Randle as a counter-intelligence agent, while Ray is a handler at Equikrom, and Claire one of his agents. To cover up their grand scheme, Ray and Claire practice their scheme, also to make Equikrom believe that Ray is loyal. But unaware to them, people at Burkett & Randle are listening in on their practice blowing Claire’s cover. Howard Tully, Burkett & Randle’s CEO, to pursue his manipulation of Equikrom decides to keep Claire despite this discovery. Dick Garsik though, Equikrom’s CEO, is convinced of Ray’s loyalty.

To put his plans into motion, CEO Tully meets with his intelligence team, stressing the importance of vigilance especially when it comes to the new product. Together with other people in the intelligence team, they plant information that Claire is sure to relay to Equikrom. Claire makes a copy of Tully’s speech during the meeting and hands this over to CEO Garsik. His team at Equikrom then plots to steal all information pertaining to this ‘new product’.

Ray also shares some information to Claire, which she forwards to Burkett & Randle in turn. Tully pretends to commend her for her hard work and tells her that the ‘new product’ is a cure to baldness. She then relays this information to Garsik, who immediately travels to Las Vegas for a shareholder’s meeting to announce this breakthrough. Garsik relies on Claire to steal the formula from Burkett & Randle, she did so and forward the formula’s copy to Equikrom.

Meanwhile, Claire and Ray, each with a copy of the formula, meet at the airport. They plan to sell the formula for $35 million to a Swiss company. While Garsik was announcing the final stages of the product that cures baldness, Claire and Ray discover from the Swiss that the product is just an ordinary lotion. The plan all along was for Tully to destroy Gastrik.

The closing scene sees both Claire and Ray sitting a Swiss hotel receiving a complimentary champagne from Tully. They talk about how they’ve been expertly manipulated after all and how they only have each other now.

RECEPTION

Although it didn’t fare impressively in the box office, not even earning double its $60M budget, it was well received by critics and viewers alike. The fact that it does not follow a chronological sequence of events renders a more interesting and challenging take for the viewers, albeit a bit complex.