28 March 2006

Don't Lie to Me

Rant of the Day: Where the Truth Lies - dir. Atom Egoyan - 2005 - Canada/UK/USA

Though the title doesn't pose a question, the truth, unfortunately, lies within the narrative. Atom Egoyan's other films have always been mysteries, but never concretely. Instead, it isn't until after you watch the film, that you realize an unposed question has been answered. Where the Truth Lies, his latest, makes the mistake of letting us know what we're looking for (quite literally the explanation of a woman's death). Young journalist Karen O'Connor (Alison Lohman) is writing a story about the woman's death, her body found in the bathtub of two television icons (Kevin Bacon, Colin Firth). The question is posed, the answer is found... and yet this leads us to none of the human, emotional conclusions we came to with The Sweet Hereafter, The Adjuster, or Exotica. This, too, may be the fault of our lead actress who makes our investigation unfulfilling and uninvolving. Egoyan has used young actors to varying degrees in the past: radiantly (Sarah Polley in The Sweet Hereafter) and simply just effectively (Mia Kirshner in Exotica, David Alpay in Ararat). But here, he goes dead wrong. But it's probably too easy to blame the starlet for what's truly wrong with Where the Truth Lies. Perhaps all Egoyan wanted to do was make a good ol' Hollywood murder mystery (though its structure is far more Citizen Kane than Agatha Christie), but this doesn't make the disappointment in the film's climax nor the uncompelling lead excusable. And how dare he bring back three of his regulars (Arsinée Khanjian, Don McKellar, and Gabrielle Rose) in a single scene as publishing execs, only to remind us of the wonder and awe that he once created... and may never create again.

DVD of the Week: Six Feet Under: Season 5

In case you couldn't guess, the final season of Six Feet Under is the DVD of the week. What, did you think I was going to pick Memoirs of a Geisha?

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