The Devil's Double (2011) Director: Lee Tamahori

I've never really rated Dominic Cooper. He's easy on the eye, that's a given, but he's not done anything to seriously impress me apart from prat around in swimwear in Mamma Mia. The Devil's Double is the making of Cooper. He puts in a formidable and fearless performance as nasty bugger Uday Hussein - Saddam's psychotic son who is fond of partying hard to the extreme - and Uday's 'fiday' Latif Yahia, a childhood friend who is employed against his will to act as Uday's body double.

The Devil's Double is based on the accounts of Yahia but pimped up to appeal to a wide audience. The film seems to be aiming at those fond of Danny Dyer, but luckily it lands on the side of The Business, rather than Pimp. Essentially it's a bloody good gangster movie and is relentless from the start, instantly throwing you into the carnage of Uday's life. Cooper's portrayl of Uday is both comical and chilling - there's so much going on with the character. He has 'Mummy' issues and a possible Oedipus complex. His sexuality is hinted at - he beds scores of women, even snatching schoolgirls off the streets for his disgusting pleasures, but he is captivated by a drag queen. Cooper is having an absolute riot playing him, and he's a joy to watch. Take the first nightclub scene, set to a great 80s soundtrack, as he romps in, cocksure, slapping arses and grabbing tits. It's one of the most convincing portrayls of a psychopath I've seen for some time.

Cooper also plays Latif well - to the point where you know which 'one' he is when he walks in. Kudos must also go to Philip Quast as Saddam Hussein, an uneasy and scary presence throughout the film.

The Devil's Double is violent. It can't escape that due to the atrocities Uday committed. The scenes where he preys on young schoolgirls are highly uncomfortable, as well as his rape of a bride on her wedding day. But it's all in context and not 'exploitative' - even the birthday party scene where he orders everyone to strip naked is done with taste.

Where the film fails is its slightly ropey third act where Latif tries to escape Uday's clutches and romance builds between Latif and Uday's 'girlfriend' Sarrab (Ludivine Sagnier) - the film does drag from this point and there's a pointless poke around a farm, for Latif and Sarrab to ride away on horses into the sunset. We also get some over long cat and mouse between Uday and Latif - 'oh, it's him on the phone again, I'm rumbled', when Latif tries to escape his destiny.

It's worth seeing alone for Dominic Cooper's performance - arguably award worthy (fancy putting a punt of the BAFTAs next year?) The level of commitment of getting inside both characters heads must have been huge for Cooper and it does pay off. It's a bit of a guilty pleasure to be watching a man revel in his excess, his crimes, and his violence, but enjoy it. There's so much to lap up - the inexcusable 80s fashion, the bling, the locations, the dark humour. Cooper's got a very bright future ahead of him...but so did Danny Dyer after The Business. He needs to select his future projects very carefully but with Captain America already in the bag and Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter coming up, I think he's going to be just fineeeee.