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WHERE THE TRUTH LIES (not rated) (2005)


Official Site

Director: Atom Egoyan

Producer: Robert Lantos

Written by: Atom Egoyan; book by Rupert Holmes

Cast: Kevin Bacon, Colin Firth, Alison Lohman, Sonja Bennett, Rachel Blanchard


I liked Where The Truth Lies. When I said this to another reviewer, one who writes rings around me, he said, “Really? That’s interesting.” Um. Interesting. The word my mother-in-law uses in place of the more accurate, “fucked up.” Here’s how you can find yourself giving three stars to a fair-to-middlin’ (but interesting) movie.

1. You appreciate sexual candor on film.

2. You appreciate murder-mysteries, of which there have not been a plethora lately, even ones that even you can solve.

3. You appreciate the ever-deepening talents of Mr. Kevin Bacon.

4. You appreciate opportunities to ponder what Mr. Atom Egoyan thinks about.

5. You appreciate, in fact never quite outgrew, the whole girl-sleuth, Nancy Drew thing.

I haven’t read Holmes’s novel, which, as every review will tell you, was written by the guy who wrote the “Pinña Colada Song.” The story is a bit thin, cuz, you know, he’s Rupert, not Sherlock. It doesn’t take much to figure it out—not only the motive, but the mechanism. If the movie’s tale is an accurate reflection of the novel, and I’d spent a couple hundred pages and a few hours with this book, I’d have been annoyed. Which makes it a good candidate for filmisation; it’s short-attention-span material. And Egoyan has a way with texts. I’m a great admirer of his movie The Sweet Hereafter. I’d loved Russell Banks’ extremely sad novel, and approached the movie with trepidation. There, Egoyan took some liberties with the story, even introducing a motif that he came up with on his own. It was note-perfect, capturing the mood of the book so well that this is one of a handful of movies that I like equally as well as the source material. Can’t say I’m curious to read this book, which received starred reviews in library selection journals, though I did fall into a reverie after watching, wondering what recommended this tale to Mr. Egoyan’s notice. It’s the story of comedy duo Morris and Collins, stand-ins of course for Martin and Lewis, and the ambitious girl-reporter who comes along 15 years later to investigate the duo’s break-up, which had something to do with a telethon and a dead girl in a hotel bathtub. It has the allure of one of those Tinseltown rumors, hush-hush and on the QT, being exposed for all us folks out in Peoria.

Kevin Bacon just gets better and better. Who knew, when we were watching Tremors (Which ain’t bad. Really.), that one day we’d say Kevin Bacon, Thespian. Here is an actor with a serious grasp of the terrain of sexuality (esp. the Plains of Dissolution). I’m going to say that any project that doesn’t play to this guy’s wheelhouse is a waste of Kevin Bacon.

Speaking of waste, Lohman isn’t believable; in fact none of the women are well served here. The guys, on the other hand, have nice, meaty roles and make the most of them. Colin Firth is rather good at this sort of thing, the gentlemanly chap who isn’t quite. If you only know him in his Mr. Darcy/smoldering romantic idol persona, check out earlier stuff like Apartment Zero. I have high hopes for a return to Coen Brothers form when Firth recreates the Michael Caine role in next year’s remake of Gambit.

The movie was released unrated because of a sex scene that couldn’t get past the MPAA. That raised a lot of expectations for me, but I have to tell you, the scene is neither shocking nor particularly unexpected. But still welcome, don’t get me wrong. Like Jello, there’s always time for B movies. Who’d have thunk arthouse prince Atom Egoyan would make one?

—Roxanne Bogucka

hybridCinema Ratings Guide:

Take a pal and pay full price for both tickets.

Itís worth a full-price ticket.

Itís worth a matinee ticket.

Wait for video rental.

Check out the video from the library, if you must.

While we would never encourage anyone to destroy a video...

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