Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB.5.
Canada/United Kingdom, 2005. Serendipity Point Films, First Choice Films, The Movie Network, Telefilm Canada, Movie Central Network, Ego Film Arts, The Harold Greenberg Fund. Screenplay by Atom Egoyan, based on the novel by Rupert Holmes. Cinematography by Paul Sarossy. Produced by Robert Lantos. Music by Mychael Danna. Production Design by Phillip Barker. Costume Design by Beth Pasternak. Film Editing by Susan Shipton. Cannes Film Festival 2005. Toronto International Film Festival 2005.
Alison Lohman plays a journalist who, in 1972, has been hired to write a biography about one half of a comedy team that was hugely popular in the late fifties. What she is most interested in finding out is the truth behind the hushed-up scandal of a dead woman’s body that was found in the duo’s hotel room during a Florida gig in their heyday. Her subject (Colin Firth) is reluctant to talk about it, so instead she chases after his wilder, womanizing partner (Kevin Bacon) in the hopes of finding out more. Atom Egoyan’s intelligent screenplay, based on the novel by Rupert Holmes, is a fascinating voyage through the plastic world of Hollywood’s yesteryear, buoyed by superb performances from Bacon and Firth and a gorgeous recreation of the period. Egoyan’s characters and dialogue have never really existed in any reality that I recognize, but in this Ellroy-esque genre his style has found a perfectly comfortable home. The main weak point is the odd casting of a very young Lohman in the lead role: does the cinema no longer have any women available to play educated writers? Sure, she’s supposed to have a trajectory that begins in complete naivety, but Lohman never seems quite sure that she deserves to be there, and it doesn’t help that she seems to figure most of the mystery out through sheer magic without anything to support her discoveries.