Kevin Bacon and Colin Firth are a 50s comedy and musical double act who split after a murder scandal. Fifteen years later a journalist (Alison Lohman) is writing a book about them.
I’m rather so-so on writer-director Atom Egoyan. His films are a bit bland but at least his early work was interestingly odd. His later work became more conventional, but I assumed his identity as an unusual director was lost. I saw Chloe (2009) and thought it was his best film despite being much less ‘interesting’ than his earlier work. Somehow I’ve just kept to my assumption that he was a spent force creatively after The Sweet Hereafter (1997). The trailer for this made it look boring, and the 50s comedy double act subject matter held no appeal. I was happy to skip it for over a decade.
So I started this film with very low expectations. It was significantly better than I expected. Straightaway I was hooked. The film is brilliant. It’s by far his best movie. It’s got a great plot, good dialogue exchanges, the acting is good and it’s visually lavish. I was fully engaged throughout and thought it was a fascinating movie.
The sex scenes were exceedingly seedy. The lesbian seduction to Sanctuary by The Mahavishnu Orchestra while a girl sings the lyrics to Jefferson Airplane’s White Rabbit was very memorable. I think this should go up there with Mulholland Drive (2001) and Maps to the Stars (2014) in the short pantheon of perverted Hollywood psychodramas. It’s as extreme as those films without being as overtly flamboyant.
The film gets a bit too convoluted towards the end but I didn’t mind that as I didn’t try to catch the film out in any plot holes. I suspect it’s the type of story that will have lots of plot holes and questionable character behaviour if you pick at it. I didn’t pick at it and just let it wash over me. On repeat viewings I might be less impressed, but for now I thought it was an excellent movie. The film is far more entertaining than it looks.
9 out of 10
Also according to the end credits You Know, You Know by The Mahavishnu Orchestra is also on the soundtrack earlier in the film.