Where The Truth Lies

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The ViewAuckland Review

Review byMatthew Turner3/11/2005

Five out of Five stars
Running time: 108 mins

Opens London Film Festival: 1st November

Sexy, stylish and hugely entertaining mystery drama with a sharp script, gorgeous set design and superb performances from all three leads – this is one of the best films of the year.

The Background
Where the Truth Lies is a mystery drama, based on the novel by Rupert Holmes and directed by Atom Egoyan. It’s a hugely enjoyable slice of Hollywood film noir and, as such, one of the best films of the year.

The Story
Colin Firth and Kevin Bacon play Vince Collins and Lanny Morris, two famous 1950s entertainers whose act closely resembles that of Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis. The film takes place in both 1957 and 1972. In 1957, a beautiful girl named Maureen (Rachel Blanchard) turns up dead in Vince and Lanny’s Atlantic City hotel suite. The mystery is never solved, but it leads to the break-up of Vince and Lanny’s famous double-act.

Flash-forward to 1972, where would-be reporter Karen O’Connor (Alison Lohman) negotiates a million dollar book deal for a strapped-for-cash Collins, under the proviso that he talks about Maureen’s murder. As the mystery unfolds, Karen gets more and more caught up with both Vince and Lanny and things start to get very saucy indeed.

The Good
The film looks utterly gorgeous throughout, the rich, vibrant colours and impeccably stylish costumes contrasting brilliantly with the seedier elements of the plot. It also has a terrific score by Mychael Danna, which adds considerably to the noirish atmosphere of the film.

The Great
Kevin Bacon and Colin Firth are superb as Lanny and Vince, in both their 1950s and 1970s incarnations. Their complex relationship is at the heart of both the film and the mystery, with the result that we’re as eager as Karen to uncover the truth behind their split.

The film’s raunchy (but not explicit) threesome scenes earned it the dreaded NC-17 rating in the States, which is hugely unfair, particularly as that may well scupper its Oscar hopes. The scenes in question are not gratuitous, but actually serve to further the plot - they illustrate the abuse of power in both sexual and showbiz relationships.

The Conclusion
In short, Where the Truth Lies is a fabulous film that gets everything right. It’s gorgeous to look at, it has an intriguing plot, a terrific score, a sharp script and wonderful performances from its stars. Highly recommended.

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Content updated: 18/07/2019 09:50

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