Where The Truth Lies

Where The Truth Lies


Reviewed by: Ben Sillis

In front of cameras, live to the nation, cabaret duo Morris (Kevin Bacon) and Collins (Colin Firth) laugh, joke and sing in a wholesome, family entertainment sort of way, helping out at telethons for charitable causes and making little girls' dreams come true. But beneath this facade lies a grim and seedy reality of Mafia run nightclubs, orgies with groupies and drug-fuelled binges. Worse still, the end of their career is shrouded in sordid controversy, with the discovery of a dead girl in their hotel suite bathtub. It is the mystery behind this that forms the centrepiece of Armenian-Canadian director Atom Egoyan's latest, and first foray into the genre movie, a competent, if somewhat standard, thriller.

Alison Lohman stars as a naive but stubborn journalist, keen to uncover the truth behind their break up, who gets involved far deeper than she ever anticipated when she falls for Morris, by now a weathered version of his former self, and the film cuts between the Seventies - the absurd disco outfits Lohman wears are accurate to a point - and the Fifties, at the height of their career, as Morris and Collins pursue their Rat Pack lifestyle.

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Colin Firth is surprisingly good in his role, both in the film's past and present. As the younger Collins, he manages to depict the angry reality behind the glowing charm of his stage persona. Indeed, it's quite a surprise - and an exhilarating one at that - to see him beating an overly rowdy heckler senseless backstage. Likewise, his washed up Brit Hollywood actor of later years - based, it seems, on Dudley Moore - reeks superbly of regret and yearning. Wasn't this the man who played Mr Darcy? Wasn't this the same soppy man in Bridget Jones's Diary? Either way, it's as far from the Firth typecast as one could hope for, and he proves to be the film's unexpected delight.

Bacon, too, turns in a good performance, even if he proves to be more credible as the seedy womaniser offstage than the performer on. Lohman, however, is bland and quite irritating, and leaves you with the impression that she was cast purely on the basis of what she looks like naked.

The film is surprisingly graphic, but with a filmmaker like Egoyan, you get the impression that there is a point to the explicitness - indeed, the theme of exposal of truth and personality runs throughout and proves to be integral to the impact of the conclusion. But in his attempt to make a more mainstream film - his last effort, Ararat, was a moving examination of the Armenian genocide through an interrogation of a filmmaker by a US customs officer - he has shunned any noticeable stylistic flair.

Elements of The Usual Suspects are detectable in the twisting plot and numerous (largely false) explanations and, though the intrepid journalist is a tired narrative, the ending is a revelation that will surprise even the most anally retentive of cynics.

Overall, it's a mildly engaging diversion, during which you can't help but feel that you've seen all these antics before in other films.

Reviewed on: 30 Apr 2006
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Where The Truth Lies packshot
A young journalist sets out to discover the truth behind the break up of a cabaret act, who split after a woman was found dead in a bath.
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Read more Where The Truth Lies reviews:

Angus Wolfe Murray ****
The Exile **

Director: Atom Egoyan

Writer: Atom Egoyan, based on the novel by Rupert Holmes

Starring: Kevin Bacon, Colin Firth, Alison Lohman, Sonja Bennett, David Hayman, Rachel Blanchard, Kathryn Winslow, Kristin Adams, Maury Chaykin, Kate Harrell

Year: 2005

Runtime: 108 minutes

BBFC: 18 - Age Restricted

Country: Canada/UK/US


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