Saturday 2 May 2009

Consenting Adults

Alan J. Pakula was a fine film director. His credits include All the President’s Men, which I watched when it first came out and much enjoyed. An early success was To Kill a Mockingbird, subject of a recent post here, and this prompted me to watch a film he made many years later, and not long before his death in a freak car accident, the 1992 movie Consenting Adults.

The film has a good cast, led by Kevin Spacey and Kevin Kline, and deals with two suburban neighbours who are both married to extremely glamorous women. Their male bonding leads Spacey to suggest a bit of wife-swopping. At first Kline is horrified by the proposed betrayal But he begins to warm to the idea, encouraged - it seems – by his own wife, and Spacey’s.. Soon, however, it becomes apparent that things are not what they seem, and murder ensues.

I’m afraid this was a film when the plot, although appealing in some ways, was woefully lacking in credibility. When Kline is set up for a murder he didn’t commit, why do the police and even his own lawyer take no interest in his defence? Not much of it made sense to me. My sympathy for Kline was also tempered by the sheer silliness of some of his behaviour.

It’s a well-made and rather glossy film, but as a thriller, sadly lacking. And To Kill a Mockingbird it most definitely is not. Pakula was capable of much better.


Paul D Brazill said...

yes, it's a bit rubbish, isn't it? 'All The President's...' is a gem though..

Leigh Russell said...

I haven't seen this film. It sounds as though it set out to be commercial (famous film stars, sex & violence) but was merely tacky. I agree that 'All the Presidents' Men' was excellent.

I don't write under my own name, for several reasons (I naively thought I could keep my author existence from the pupils I teach.) It's going to be amusing at my London book launch, when my publisher introduces me as Leigh Russell, since everyone there will be invited guests who know me by my real name. I'll feel as though I'm six again, playing make believe.

Martin Edwards said...

Paul and Leigh, your comments remind me that I really ought to watch 'All the President's..' again - it's been a long time.
Leigh - the make believe is a big part of the fun of writing and being a writer, I think!

pattinase (abbott) said...

My husband watched it just last month and wondered if it had been cut to ribbons for cable. Couldn't make any sense of it.
ATPM holds up wonderfully.

Martin Edwards said...

Interesting point, Pati. There must be some reason why the film misfires when some of the ingredients are so sound.

Julia Buckley said...

If you like ALL THE PRESIDENT'S MEN, you must see STATE OF PLAY. I just saw it today and thought it was great--but obviously an homage to Pakula's film.

Martin Edwards said...

Hi Julia. I've heard great things about State of Play and am very keen to see it before too long.