This movie was disturbing… See it soon.

It’s the true story of Uday Saddam Hussein and his body double – Latif Yahia. The premise of the story is that Uday and Latif grew up as classmates throughout their grade school years. As the story goes, they weren’t necessarily friends, but, knew of each other because their looks were strikingly similar and their other classmates made notice of it.

After graduation, they went their separate ways until Uday asked Latif to work for him as his body double. When Latif told him no, of course, Uday pumped his brakes on the asking and had Latif beaten and confined until he said yes. P. S. Uday also threatened Latif’s family. So dictator’s-son typical, no originality.

The film thereafter covers the years when Latif served as Uday’s double – a story which Men’s Journal magazine quotes Latif as saying, “The reality in the movie I would put at 70 percent. Very close.” They also report he took a Valium in preparation for watching it. I should have taken a Valium in preparation for watching this…

It’s expected that any story about a Hussein family member is likely to be disturbing, but, Uday Hussein truly captured and embodied the stereotype of the rotten, privileged dictator’s kid. The carefree attitude, the crazy-drug-filled parties, the volatile outbursts when things didn’t go his way. Spot on. I expected that.

But, the detail in this film was so in-your-face, I found myself squirming through just about the whole thing. It was every bit the Middle East in the early to mid 1990‘s. It was horrible to see, yet fascinating to watch. It was graphic; It was well performed; It was a show of power abused.

Both title characters were played by Dominic Cooper – an English actor. I’ve seen him in other films and not been otherwise engaged. He’s played the bad-boy before, but, never pulled it off this well. Cooper was phenomenal in this role. I’m not sure the film deserves an Academy Award nomination, but, Cooper certainly deserves a nomination for best actor. He passed my litmus test with flying colors; I completely forgot I was watching the portrayal of characters and not the actual characters.

Because it’s a small film, I wonder if the Academy will even take notice. If just for the acknowledgement of Cooper as a stand-out, they should.