Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB. United Kingdom, 2009. Eyeline Entertainment, Atlantic Film Distribution, Feature Productions, Centurion Entertainment. Screenplay by Gilbert Adair. Cinematography by Ricardo Aronovich. Produced by Tom Kinninmont, Duncan Napier-Bell, Nicholas Napier-Bell, Tom Reeve, Romain Schroeder. Music by Adrian Murray. Production Design by Keith Slote. Costume Design by Kate O’Farrell. Film Editing by Sean Barton, Adrian Murray, Valeria Sarmiento.
A famous art critic (Tom Conti) lives in his aristocratic family’s country manor after having been gruesomely injured in a car accident that took both his eyes and left him severely burned. He wants to write one more book and has interviewed a series of candidates to be his amanuensis, but when a lovely Daryl Hannah enters the room, she is selected for the job thanks to her own background in his field. Her assignment is to type what he dictates, while his housekeeper (Miriam Margolyes) takes care of the cooking and he has separate medical staff to take care of his nursing needs. Hannah is thrilled to be working for this man whose work she has so admired for so long, or is she? As time progresses she starts to play tricks on Conti, moving furniture around or lying to him about the things he asks her to describe, and we realize that she might have shown up to his house with more in mind than just well-paying employment. Raoul Ruiz contributes stylish direction to a juicy little potboiler that is engaging and attractive, with an ending that does not blow the mind but provides a fun twist. Conti and Hannah have good chemistry and both contribute sturdy performances, while Elaine Paige veritably steals the show with her few moments as a woman canvassing for an upcoming election.