As in dupe the audience. Duplicity must have been put together by Bernie Madoff. What a rip-off.
No. I take it all back. I know that Tony Gilroy thought he was putting together something sleek and clever and mind twisting. But in reality he was twisting up his own underwear. The plot is plodding, repetitive, predictable and boring. Its clumsy dance around psuedo-industrial espionage is graceless and tedious and makes a strenuous effort to seem to be about something when it is all about nothing. Coming off the Bourne series as he is, it is surprising that Gilroy’s script contains no danger, violence or anything more than the mildest action. He could have cast Matt Damon as the male lead and called it The Bourne Inadequacy.
Characters pretend to be about something that they are not and we are supposed to be surprised and titillated by revelations and counter revelations. Gilroy thinks he is creating a romantic story of mystery, surprise and suspense. But Gilroy is self-deluded and the viewer is sadly disappointed. At the very first introduction of the plot machinery, this viewer knew exactly where it was going, who was fooling whom and who was not being fooled at all. And seeing through and past these feeble fumblings is no fun at all.
But then you might say, so what? It’s only a mild diversion and it is surely uplifted by the physical and thespic charms of Julia Roberts and Clive Owen. And yes, they can act. But charm, much less character chemistry? These qualities are not really on display. They say the lines and go through the motions of mutual attraction but the conviction is not there. So the audience can only sit quietly and observe the two supposed lovers as they kiss, spat, make up and make love, and do it all over again. And again.
I assume this was a good payday for all involved and Duplicity might make some money, but like Bernie Madoff’s investors, some of us are already losers.