Friday, October 17, 2008

London Film Festival Day 3 - THE OTHER MAN

THE OTHER MAN is a profoundly disappointing, frustrating attempt at a thriller powered by sexual jealousy. But instead of the emotional tension and mind games of Richard Eyre's previous directorial effort, NOTES ON A SCANDAL, we get a meandering plot, weak motivation and a denouement that is hard to swallow.

The key flaw is the poor quality of the script - penned by Eyre, based on a story by Bernhard Schlink. For the first hour the story stumbles around, often doubling back on itself, making a meal out of plot devices that should be worked through very quickly. Liam Neeson plays a decent but dull man called Peter who discovers that his wife Lisa (Laura Linney has been schtupping a schmoozy Spaniard called Ralph (Antonio Banderas). Rather than confront Ralph, Peter plays chess with him - a clunking great metaphor that the visually unimaginative Eyre makes nothing of. The wife, Lisa, remains enigmatic, and the daughter (Romola Garai) is basically redundant. The movie fails to drum up any tension (sexual or intellectual - dear god - how long does it take to realise that the password is "Lake Como"?)

And then, as the finish line nears, the writers clearly thought it was time to spice things up a bit so they dream up, well, not so much a plot twist, as a diversion into a dead end. This diversion allows Banderas to ham it up a bit and takes us into a final scene that jars completely the character motivation we have been shown in previous scenes.

THE OTHER MAN played Toronto and London 2008. It opens in the US on December 3rd.

No comments:

Post a Comment