Where the Truth Lies

I really liked this little film by Atom Egoyan (The Sweet Hereafter, Exotica), though it has some huge flaws. Strangely, it was written by Rupert Holmes, by which I mean “that guy who sang ‘The Piña Colada Song.’” Yes. That Rupert Holmes. Basically, it’s a noir murder mystery story unfolding back and forth in time. A comedy/music duo, based quite obviously on Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis, are at the top of the game in the late ’50s when a dead woman is found in the bathtub of their deluxe hotel suite. Some 15 years later, a young reporter works her way through the layers of lies to arrive at what might well be the truth about that night. Egoyan plays everything for its erotic value: Blouses are always falling open; lips are moist and parted; each glance says something about sex and lies. It’s a cheap and tawdry trick, which is just right for the mood of this film. Kevin Bacon is quite decent as Lanny Morris, one half of the duo, but the film belongs to Colin Firth, who plays Lanny’s less-successful sidekick. He seethes with unanswered desire. The young reporter is played by Alison Lohman, who could easily have been Just Another Teen Actress, but she shows real chops here, submerging herself in Egoyan’s signature style. On the downside, some of the elements of the mystery just don’t add up, and there are a few leaps of logic which should never occur in a tightly plotted noir. But the smoldering eros and creepy villainy are right out of the best of Fritz Lang, so if you can put up with a few plot holes, you’ll be amply rewarded.

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