I recently read an article which stated that Richard Gere is unable to get work in Hollywood now because the last several films he made did not do well at the box office. I was hoping that “The Double” would prove to be a comeback film for him, but sadly, it is part of his continuing downfall. Gere shows no emotion in his face, whether he is supposed to portray happiness, sadness, rage, or love. He has always been one of my favorite Hollywood stars, mostly for his good looks, which at 63 years of age, still stand out in a crowd. “The Double” has some good points, though, which kept me interested throughout.
Richard Gere - Wikimedia
The first scenes show a group of illegal immigrants attempting to cross the border between Mexico and the United States. Initially, it seemed to have no relevance to the story about to unfold. They were later identified as Russian agents which explained the opening scene.
A Washington Senator is Killed
Paul Shepherdson (Richard Gere) is a retired CIA agent called back into service because of the murder of a Senator on a street in Washington, D.C. How often has that scenario been used in a Hollywood movie? The reason for Paul’s involvement was the fact that the method used to take out Senator Darden appeared to be the work of an old Russian assassin, a double agent, that was thought to be dead. The method was a clean slit of the Senator’s throat used by a man the CIA dubbed as Cassius.
Paul Shepherdson had spent twenty years pursuing Cassius on several continents. A group known as the Cassius Seven was reduced by six members when Paul was in pursuit. Only his nemesis Cassius had escaped his wrath.
Topher Grace - Wikimedia
Paul is Introduced to Ben Geary
The Director of the CIA, Tom Highland (Martin Sheen), made a visit to Paul’s house to plead with him to continue his search for Cassius. He asked Paul to team up with a Harvard-educated FBI recruit, Ben Geary (Topher Grace) who had done his Master’s thesis on Paul’s pursuit of Cassius, and knew everything there was to know about the elusive assassin. Although Paul insisted that Cassius was dead, Geary believed that the Senator was killed by Cassius because of the method that was used.
Paul and Geary Visit the Prison
At their first meeting, Paul and Geary made plans to visit a prison to talk with a man named Brutus (Steven Moyer) who was one of Cassius’ henchman, and a dangerous killer. Paul took a watch from his dresser drawer prior to the trip to see Brutus. Their first efforts to get Brutus to talk about Cassius were fruitless until Geary brought out a CD player which Brutus coveted enough to start talking. Paul did not believe a word that Brutus said, but the two men left and Brutus had been given the CD player. It was then made clear that Brutus merely wanted the radio for its batteries which he immediately swallowed, forcing the prison authorities to send him to the hospital where he was able to carry out a break, which was not successful.
Not Exactly a Spoiler
At this point in the story, flashbacks reveal to the audience, not creating a spoiler, that Paul Shepherdson is actually the double agent, Cassius. It would seem that the story would end at this point but there was much more to be revealed.
Martin Sheen - Wikimedia
A Futile Pursuit
Paul made arrangements to meet Geary and urged him to drop the investigation because it would be dangerous for him and his family to have Cassius on his trail. Geary refused. The two men were in a crowd listening to a political speaker when Paul spotted a man wearing a jacket that he knew was manufactured only in Russia. They approached the man who ran away with Paul and Geary in pursuit. After a long run through city streets, they all ended up in a warehouse, where Paul and Geary separated, checking out opposite ends of the warehouse. How often has this scenario been enacted? They were unable to catch the man. Paul’s thought was that he was not their man, but probably was guilty about another minor incident that might land him in jail. The viewer had to wonder why this episode was included in the first place.
Dinner at Geary’s
Paul was invited to dinner at Geary’s house to meet his wife and two children, one of which was a newborn. When asked what he would like to drink, Paul answered “a Vodka Martini.” Geary said “that’s Cassius’ drink. You’ve been trailing him for too long.”
In an aside, Paul was told by Gary’s wife Natalie that her husband was obsessed with Cassius. Paul answered “You husband is messing with a creature he doesn’t know. Cassius has allowed your husband to live because he is not a threat. If Ben gets too close, that would change.”
Another Assassin Enters the Picture
Because of a camera placed in a squad car, Paul recognized an assassin named Bozlovski whom he had been searching for since the Berlin wall came down. The man had just vanished. They were able to trace Bozlovski to a house near the Potomac River where a man named Leo was bribed by Paul to lead them to Bozlovski. When he confronted Bozlovski, Paul experienced a flashback where he found his wife and son murdered by Bozlovski. He had been determined all those years to find the man and obtain his revenge. A car chase ensued which ended in the death of Bozlovski. It was noted that Boz’s neck had been slit. Paul concealed his wrist watch from Geary.
Wrist Watch - Wikimedia
Paul had another conversation with Ben Geary’s wife, Natalie in which he repeated his advice that Natalie should tell her husband to get off the case. He was getting close to a dangerous man who would kill her husband without remorse.
Geary is Onto Something
Geary, with the help of another young FBI agent, pieced together all the photos they had of assassinations throughout the years that were attributed to Cassius. Paul Shepherdson was in every picture of the murder scenes. Geary knew that he was onto something.
There is another shocking revelation which will not be revealed here. It made this entire mixed-up film well worth watching. A clever ending.
I wish Richard Gere more luck in the future with his choice of films to make. Although he was surrounded by an excellent cast, they were all hampered by a weak script and perhaps some poor direction, which made them all look like amateurs.