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RENEE MONTAGNE, host:

You can also find plenty of intrigue at the movie theater this week. The film "Duplicity," starring Julia Roberts and Clive Owen, opens today. Los Angeles Times and MORNING EDITION film critic Kenneth Turan has this review.

KENNETH TURAN: The only thing you can trust about "Duplicity" is its title. It's a throwback to the days of old school caper movies like "To Catch A Thief." It's also just the kind of sophisticated amusement you would expect from filmmaker Tony Gilroy. Gilroy wrote the script for "The Bourne Identity." In "Duplicity" he's done a lighter version of his previous "Michael Clayton." Back we go to the dog-eat-dog world of corporate malfeasance and industrial espionage. Only this time it's played for laughs and romance.

Julia Roberts is a CIA officer and Clive Owen is an MI6 agent. They've decided to go private and run an elaborate scam that takes advantage of a war between rival corporations.

(Soundbite of movie, "Duplicity")

Ms. JULIA ROBERTS (Actor): (As Claire Stenwick) Can you imagine living like this, how much fun we could have?

Mr. CLIVE OWEN (Actor): (As Roy Koval) Aren't we in enough trouble?

Ms. JULIA ROBERTS: (As Claire Stenwick) I mean having the money.

Mr. CLIVE OWEN: (As Roy Koval) Keep going.

Ms. JULIA ROBERTS: (As Claire Stenwick) How much do you think we'd need?

Mr. CLIVE OWEN: (As Roy Koval) Twenty million.

Ms. JULIA ROBERTS: (As Claire Stenwick) And I was thinking 40.

Mr. CLIVE OWEN: (As Roy Koval) So what do you have to do to get $40 million?

Ms. JULIA ROBERTS: (As Claire Stenwick) Go private, smart, get lucky.

Mr. CLIVE OWEN: (As Roy Koval) How smart?

Ms. JULIA ROBERTS: (As Claire Stenwick) Smart enough to pick the right partner.

TURAN: The question is: Can they trust each other enough to allow that to happen? Even if you beg, I'm not going to tell you any more. All I'll say is that "Duplicity"'s plotting is dazzlingly complex, full of turns inside of twists and twists inside of turns. It makes your head spin like an amusement park ride you can barely hang onto, something that needs to be experienced to be appreciated.

Aside from Roberts and Owen, the real star here is Tony Gilroy, a writer-director with a gift for updating classic Hollywood with smart and sophisticated contemporary touches. He has written fine dialogue of all sorts, from repartee to romance to comedy and tension, and he has directed with snap, energy and playfulness. Everything in "Duplicity" may be a scam, but Gilroy's talent is the real thing.

MONTAGNE: Kenneth Turan reviews movies for MORNING EDITION and the Los Angeles Times, and we have more reviews, including the new Paul Rudd film, "I Love You, Man," at npr.org.

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