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Overall Rating

Awesome: 12.9%
Worth A Look: 9.68%
Just Average: 19.35%
Pretty Crappy45.16%
Sucks: 12.9%

3 reviews, 13 user ratings

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Where the Truth Lies
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by Peter Sobczynski

"One of the world's best filmmakers gives us his worst movie"
2 stars

If you were to ask me to compile a list of the best filmmakers at work in the world today, Atom Egoyan’s name would probably be pretty high up on it. Although not exactly a household name–unless your household is one that subscribes to “Cineaste,” the Canadian-Armenian auteur has developed into one of the most fascinating directors around thanks to such mysterious and haunting masterpieces as 1994's “Exotica” (which is a million times more complex and thoughtful than the American video box, which makes it look like a “Showgirls” knock-off, would lead you to believe) and the shattering 1997 drama “The Sweet Hereafter.” And even when he turns in a less-than-successful film, such as 2002's “Ararat,” he at least has the decency to come up with an interesting and ambitious failure. However, you certainly couldn’t detect even trace elements of that genius in his latest work, the bewildering misfire “Where the Truth Lies,” an erotic mystery that is utterly lacking in eroticism, mystery or anything remotely resembling a point.

Kevin Bacon and Colin Firth stars as a wildly popular 1950's nightclub act–a duo loosely based on Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis–who split up after a young woman (Rachel Blanchard) turned up dead in their hotel suite after a telethon appearance. Two decades later, an ambitious journalist (Alison Lohman), who has her own past connection to the duo, cuts through webs of old resentments, shocking secrets and kinky sex in order to get to the bottom of the mysteries of the death and the split. What she discovers is a mess that one colleague of mine has already described as being what “Veronica Mars” would be like as written by Joe Eszterhas–an insult to both “Veronica Mars” and Eszterhas.

This might sound like a promising premise for a film but trust me, it doesn’t result in one. The story–based on a novel by Rupert Holmes, whose crowning literary achievement is still “Escape (The Pina Colada Song)”–is perplexing without being interesting and results in a denouement so hackneyed and cliched that it almost seems like a joke. Meanwhile, Egoyan’s usually hypnotic approach to direction–in which the past and present effortlessly intertwine in a manner that doesn’t fully reveal itself until the end credits begin to roll–merely seems like a desperate stylistic attempt to lend some kind of meaning or heft to the proceedings.

Even the dreamy-yet-edgy eroticism that Egoyan usually brings to his films (recall the way in which he handled the incest-related material in “The Sweet Hereafter”) has been replaced here with a more straightforward and less interesting approach. There is plenty of nudity and sex on display–including the now-infamous three-way sex scene that earned the film an NC-17 rating (it is being released unrated instead)–but aside from the fact that it involves better-known actors, much of it is about as radical as the stuff usually seen late at night on Skinemax. There is one sex sequence that is slightly more adventurous, involving Firth, Lohman and a girl dressed (briefly) as Alice in Wonderland, but it comes off as too silly and contrived to work either as drama or as eroticism.

The real bummer is that the performances by Bacon and Firth are actually pretty good under the circumstances and effortlessly catch the on-and-offstage vibe of two guys who can’t really stand each other but who know how much each one depends on the other. If Egoyan had abandoned the mystery and followed this dynamic, he might have come up with something worthwhile instead of the kind of direct-to-video dross that even Shannon Tweed would have rejected.

link directly to this review at https://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=12762&reviewer=389
originally posted: 10/28/05 00:29:41
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2005 Toronto Film Festival For more in the 2005 Toronto Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

4/06/12 Rosey Posey HORRIBLE, TERRIBLE, etc. 1 stars
7/23/11 mr.mike I canf say where the truth lies cause I shut it off after 40 minutes. 2 stars
3/23/10 carol miles More pcs like this from Colin Firth and he'll just about be ready to host game shows. 1 stars
2/14/07 Flavia Aninger It's worth seeing because of Firth and Bacon! 4 stars
9/27/06 elemacd the nc-17 rating effectively killed it 5 stars
9/06/06 William Goss Remarkable efforts by Bacon and Firth are undermined by a poor Lohman and the sleazy story. 2 stars
5/05/06 Victoria D'Orazi A LAME EXCUSE FOR SOFT PORNOGRAPHY 1 stars
3/16/06 Lookoutpi Breathtaking movie making, average scripting 4 stars
3/05/06 ALBERT excellent in every departament.KEVIN BACON shold have been nomitated for oscar. 5 stars
10/11/05 Paul William Roberts utter crap 1 stars
9/18/05 denny expected more from egoyan; too mainstream 4 stars
9/16/05 Carmen Saw this at the TIFF. It was outstanding. 5 stars
9/14/05 Mary An amazing movie with unexpected twists and turns. Daring, provocative, question-raising. 5 stars
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  14-Oct-2005 (NC-17)
  DVD: 28-Feb-2006



Directed by
  Atom Egoyan

Written by
  Atom Egoyan

  Kevin Bacon
  Colin Firth
  Alison Lohman
  Sonja Bennett
  Rachel Blanchard
  Kathryn Winslow

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