The Devil's Double

The Devil's Double

by Christian Henson


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Director Lee Tamahori's The Devil's Double is based on the true story of an Iraqi army officer enlisted as a body double for dictator Saddam Hussein's corrupt son Uday, due to their physical resemblance. (In the movie, Dominic Cooper plays both parts.) Set in the late 1980s and early '90s, the film examines the run-up to the first Gulf War and its aftermath. Composer Christian Henson seems to have decided to focus on the anxiety of the officer (whose novel is the source of the screenplay) as he encounters Uday's brutality. The 28 cues on the soundtrack album are mostly slow-moving passages punctuated by deep, pounding percussion, with the straining strings (and synthesized string-like sounds) sometimes crossing into dissonance. Henson occasionally toys with Middle Eastern tones, but he is more interested in establishing an air of menace. He follows the action, revving up to a synth-dance track with "Liberation," which sounds like a rewrite of Donna Summer's "I Feel Love," and occasionally the pace picks up as the music accompanies scenes of violence, as suggested by such titles as "Gunfight" and "Malta Attack." Usually, however, the listener is made to feel as uneasy as the protagonist as he is drawn into Uday's dark world.

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