Monday, 5 June 2023

Where the Truth Lies - 2005 film review

I've mentioned more than once on this blog my enthusiasm for the work of Rupert Holmes. I feel quite an affinity for him simply because we were born in the very same hospital, but quite apart from that, I've long admired his talent and versatility. In February 2020, in those far-off pre-pandemic days, I delighted in his musical Curtains and I've subsequently enjoyed listening to the CD of the US version. He writes terrific popular music and is an accomplished playwright. What's more, he's a crime novelist, and I've now had a chance to watch the film version of his crime novel Where the Truth Lies.

The film was made by Atom Egoyan, a director of some distinction, who also wrote the screenplay. The story draws on Rupert's love of showbiz, and features a comedy partnership between Lanny Morris (Kevin Bacon) and Vince Phillips (the invariably impressive Colin Firth). The duo were stars in the 1950s, but split up following the death of a young woman called Maureen immediately after a telethon they were hosting, even though they weren't implicated in her mysterious demise. The reasons for their break-up are unclear.

Fifteen years later, another young woman, Karen O'Connor (Alison Lohmann) is hired to ghost-write Lanny's memoirs. She was present at the fateful telethon and she wants to find out about the circumstances of Maureen's death. A complicated sequence of events ensue, with several time-shifts between the 50s and the 70s. The plot is tangled, which is just the way I like it, though I also think I'd benefit from watching the film a second time, to appreciate better the way the story is structured.

There are one or two graphic sex scenes, and apparently this affected the film's box office potential. As a result, it's not as well-known as it deserves to be. Brightly filmed as it is, it's really a sort of neo-noir movie, where the shadows of the past loom large. Definitely worth watching. As for the source novel, I look forward to reading it and comparing it with the film. 



RJS said...

Rupert's play Accomplice is the best crime thriller play ever written! It makes Sleuth look like chid's play. Sadly, I don't think it's ever been performed in the UK.

Martin Edwards said...

It hasn't, RJS, as far as I know, but I have read it. Very ingenious!