Opening 2 Feb 2006
Eclectic Canadian director Atom Egoyan (The Sweet Hereafter, Ararat) tries out noir in his latest film, Where the Truth Lies. Based on the 1997 novel by Rupert Holmes, Lies jumps back and forth between the 50s and the 70s, chronicling the rise and fall of Lanny Morris (Kevin Bacon) and Vince Collins (Colin Firth), for a time the most popular entertainers in the U.S. At the end of a vastly successful telethon in the 50s, a young blonde woman turns up dead in their hotel suite. Although both men have solid alibis and thus are never charged with the murder, their partnership is over. Fifteen years later, a beautiful young journalist, Karen (Alison Lohman), sets out to write a tell-all book and discover the truth of what really happened. But how far will she go to get the story, and what are the real reasons behind her zeal?
Where the Truth Lies could have been a true winner along the lines of L.A. Confidential: it has a good cast, an interesting plot idea, and voyeuristic behind-the-scenes glimpses at old Hollywood. However, the film just doesn’t click. The story is a little too confusing for its own good, the atmosphere is too bleak, and some of Karen’s actions just don’t seem believable. The film got a lot of press (although not a lot of screenings) in the U.S. because it was slapped with a box-office-killing NC-17 rating due to some explicit sex scenes, but I didn’t think the scenes were worth all the fuss made over them. While Bacon and Firth do as good a job as can be expected in their roles, and Lohman’s 70s wardrobe is definitely fab, overall, by the time you find out the truth about Where the Truth Lies, you really don’t care. (Kirsten Greco)