KCUR Arts Reporter Steve Walker shares his top movie picks of the week.
Kansas City, MO – This year's male performances have been pretty uninspiring - until now. Thirty-three-year-old British actor Dominic Cooper is largely unknown, though he was memorable in The History Boys and An Education, and mostly just shirtless in Mamma Mia. But in Lee Tamahori's powerful and exceedingly violent film, Cooper brilliantly plays the insane son of Sadam Hussein, Uday, and his real-life, look-alike body double, Latif Yahia - and you get two tour-de-force performances from one man in one film. Uday Hussein was notorious for his psychopathic rages and sexual brutality (he was not a nice man), thus a frequent target, like his dad, of assassination attempts that were half-hearted but attempts all the same. Against his will and under threats to his family, Yahia extinguishes his real self, pops in the ludicrously gapped false teeth that make him look more like Hussein, and becomes a taciturn eyewitness to history. Cooper is so good at defining these two men that, even when they stand side by side or over each other's shoulders, looking exactly alike, you won't be confused. And I haven't seen a movie with such graphic, stylized violence since Pacino went ballistic in Brian DePalma's Scarface.