Where the Truth Lies
Details: (R18+), 107 mins, English
Synopsis: In the '50s, Vince Collins (Colin Firth) and Lanny Morris (Kevin Bacon) are the hottest showbiz duo in America. The combination of Lanny's brash American style and Vince's biting British wit is irresistible, especially to beautiful women. When a beautiful young woman, Maureen (Rachel Blanchard) is found dead in the bathtub of the duo's suite, their glittery world begins to crumble. They have rock solid alibis and are exonerated of any criminal wrongdoing; however, the scandal causes the once inseparable pair to part company. Fifteen years later, Karen O'Connor (Alison Lohman), a young and ambitious journalist, is determined to uncover the secrets of the two men who, coincidentally, touched her life when she was a child.
Canadian Director, Atom Egoyan, who directed Exotica and The Sweet Hereafter, returns with his latest film, Where the Truth Lies. Based on the novel by Rupert Holmes, it's an atmospheric murder mystery of sex, celebrity and scandal that spans the fifties to the seventies.
Kevin Bacon and Colin Firth are fifties comedy duo, Lanny Morris and Vince Collins. They're hugely popular and extremely wealthy, winning audiences through their hilarious stage shows and as the host of charity events. But when a young woman is found dead in their hotel room, their career is cut short. Although cleared of any wrong doing, their reputations are ruined and they go their separate ways. Fifteen years later, the break up of Morris and Collins and why the girl died, has become a show biz mystery and one that young writer, Karen O'Connor (Alison Lohman), is determined to uncover. She wins a lucrative contract to write their story, but her investigation becomes extremely personal and sexual.
This is an intriguing film, but its maze of a plot is sometimes difficult to wade through. The comedy duo – seemingly modelled on Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis – aren't nearly as funny as their audiences seem to think. Although Bacon and Firth work hard, they seem an awkward fit to their characters. Firth has an easier task, the straight man with a dark side, but Bacon, a wonderful actor, never quite carries off Lanny's frenzied personality. Likewise, Lohman is miscast. I wasn't convinced that she could write a cheque, let alone get two faded stars to reveal juicy gossip.
Like Capote, the film explores what happens when journalists get far too close to their subjects, but this is glossed over by director Atom Egoyan, who's more concerned with the destructive nature of fame and fortune.
The cinematography and design is sensational, but Egoyan's remote and dreamy approach, ultimately doesn't suit the framework of this murder mystery. This doesn't mean the film is dreadful or impossible to watch. Despite its flaws, contrivances and heavy-handed direction, Where the Truth Lies presents a curious bundle of ideas about the nature of truth.
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