'The Double' DVD Review: Gere and Grace Click Chasing Cold War-era Assassin

Can a young FBI analyst catch a Soviet serial killer before becoming his next victim?

In “The Double,” out this week on DVD, a U.S. Senator is assassinated in a style unique to a Soviet Cold War-era serial killer dubbed “Cassius.” Paul Shepherdson (Richard Gere) was the premier authority on Cassius back in the day and insists that Cassius is dead. Gere’s character is teamed up with Ben Geary (Topher Grace), a novice FBI analyst who has spent his entire career studying Cassius and is convinced the cagey assassin has returned.

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Together they set out to track Cassius, assuming he’s still alive, before the killer strikes again. Will Geary discover the secret Shepherdson is keeping before Cassius can escape or come after him?

“The Double” conjures up all sorts of questions considering the premise of the movie and its title: double agent? double cross? However “The Double” is more of a psychological thriller than a spy movie or suspenseful mystery. The major twist/reveal happens in the first 30 minutes, which was initially disappointing. But the suspense of whether or not Cassius will be caught is carried throughout the rest of the movie so well that the patient viewer doesn’t feel robbed of a denouement.

Gere and Grace make an excellent team, sharing the spotlight with balance and only trying to outshine the other in understatement. Gere in particular is very convincing as the steely-eyed Shepherdson and at times downright scary.

The quality of the DVD is excellent. One of my frequent DVD complaints is the poor sound mixing, where you have to constantly adjust the sound from scene to scene in order to catch all the dialogue without being blown away by the soundtrack or intermittent ambient noise. That was not an issue here.

The only DVD special feature, aside from the film’s theatrical trailer, is a commentary track by “The Double’s” writing team – Michael Brandt and Derek Haas.