Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Review - Where the Truth Lies

August 26, 2007

Where the Truth Lies - U.S., 2005

Movies about reporters investigating crimes are hard to do right. Unless the case or the suspects involved are incredibly interesting, the audience may simply not care who was responsible for the crime or murder. Making this kind of film even more challenging is the tendency is to show the investigation in flashbacks that may or may not be showing what really happened. Atom Egoyan’s Where the Truth Lies includes both of these story techniques, and perhaps because of that, it is only partially successful.

The film is about a young woman named Karen who is writing a book about two former entertainers, Vince and Larry. She is personally involved in the story because she had met them when she was young. As a child, Karen had had polio, and Vince and Larry headlined a 39-hour telethon to raise money to combat the disease. Three days later, the dead body of a woman who worked at the hotel that Vince and Larry had stayed in before the telethon is found in the bathtub of their hotel room, which is in a different city than the one they had been in for the telethon. Neither of them is ever charged, but they never perform together again. How did the body get there? Who killed her? What really happened? These are the questions that Karen wants to find out, and it is an answer that we, as the audience, are suppose to care about.

Unfortunately, as the movie progressed, I found myself caring less and less. I felt no reason to sympathize with the dead women, and the two singers are hardly worth investing too much emotion in. That leaves Karen herself to keep the audience interested, but as the movie progressed, I grew disinterested in her character as well. Some movies such as The Godfather II and The Public Enemy can keep an audience interested in characters that the audience cannot sympathize with or even like. For me, Where the Truth Lies did not succeed at this.

That said, the acting, especially that of Colin Firth and Kevin Bacon, are first-rate, and fans of Footloose may want to see the film for proof that Kevin Bacon can still dance. However, film fans would probably be better to skip this film and rent Egoyan’s excellent films The Sweet Hereafter and Erotica.

2 stars

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