This should have been a Bad Movie of the Week, but it’s the only flick I had time to watch recently. It’s The Double, starring Richard Gere. Gere broke through for me in An Officer and a Gentleman 37 years ago, but he has had a slew of bad films since, excepting, of course, Pretty Woman, which might also have flopped but for Julia Roberts. This is streaming on Amazon Prime Video, and I’m getting details from Wikipedia.
The plot is convoluted, and if I give too much detail it’s going to be ruined for you. So here are some highlights and a few scenes.
The opening shows what is by now the well-understood scene of illegals trekking north across the Mexican border, piloted by unscrupulous coyotes. We are fed obvious indications this is not going to end well.
And it doesn’t. Suddenly Border Patrol cars swoop in, but those are not Border Patrol agents inside. The real agents have been murdered for their uniforms and their vehicles, and the immigrant party is being raided to eliminate all witnesses to a more sinister infiltration scheme. Particularly, a Russian assassin is among the migrants, and the phony agents murder all but their intended visitor.
The scene next switches to the murder, presumably by the foreign agent, of a United States senator, who is coincidently under surveillance by government authorities.
We now see retired CIA operative Paul Shepherdson (Gere) at a junior league soccer game. Sitting next to him is a comely soccer mom, who strikes up a conversation. But no, he is not a parent; he just enjoys watching soccer. And he does not make a play for the soccer mom. We later learn this is nostalgia. His family was previously murdered by enemy agents.
It is suspected that foreign agent “Cassius” has been brought in to kill the senator, and Shepherdson is coaxed onto the case, since supposedly he killed Cassius in a previous operation. Also brought in is FBI agent Ben Geary (Topher Grace). His participation is demanded because he is the author of a brilliant research paper on Cassius. Shepherdson and and Geary form an uneasy alliance. See below.
Geary has a pretty wife (Odette Yustman), and Shepherdson warns her that her husband is getting too close to a very dangerous person. We see Shepherdson taking an unseemly interest in the Geary family, surveilling them surreptitiously.
Cut to the action. The movie has the obligatory car chase set in an industrial zone.
And it comes to an end with the target eliminated and the secrets of Shepherdson and Geary revealed. And that’s all I will say about that. See the movie. Or read the Wikipedia entry.
Your first thought should be why is a foreign power sneaking an assassin into the country by one of the most dangerous smuggling routes on the continent? People come here all the time on easily-obtained tourist visas. And the smugglers want to draw attention to the operation by killing Border Patrol agents and a crowd of migrants? And the killing of the senator could be accomplished by any one of a number of guns for hire already living here legally. Yeah, this gets off to a bad start.
Wikipedia reports this production cost $17 million, about par for an American film. It grossed $3.696 million, about par for a Hollywood losing venture.
Warning in case you want something to get your blood going: there is no gratuitous sex and nudity. Flip the page.