(out of 5)
Selling your soul for cash is not without consequences, as Ryan Gosling learns in this tepid thriller. It’s a film mainly designed to give Gosling another opportunity to rub his eyes and chin for two hours and let Anthony Hopkins phone in his Silence Of The Lambs performance from a faraway vacation spot. On the cusp of leaving the D.A.’s office for a ritzy corporate law firm, Gosling is given what seems to be an open-and-shut case of first degree murder after a wealthy aeronautics tycoon (Hopkins) kills his unfaithful wife (Embeth Davidtz) and confesses to the police. It turns out to be more complicated, however, when hard evidence against Hopkins is nowhere to be found and Gosling is forced to either fight for justice, and thereby regain his morality, or take the easy way out and ensure a wealthy future. Despite some interesting twists, the film is badly paced (by the director of the excellent legal thriller Primal Fear of all people) and poorly acted; Gosling is so desperate to be labelled the young Brando with his constant overemphasis on fatigued mannerisms and mumbled dialogue that we can hardly believe he could actually graduate law school and be hired by an elected official, while Hopkins simply looks bored and anxious to pick up his pay cheque.
Directed by Gregory Hoblit
Cinematography by Kramer Morgenthau
Produced by Charles Weinstock
Production Design by Paul Eads
Costume Design by Elisabetta Beraldo
Film Editing by David Rosenbloom