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 The World of Film in Australia - on the Internet Updated Tuesday September 15, 2020 

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In 1950s America, Lanny Morris (Kevin Bacon) and Vince Collins (Colin Firth) are superstar entertainers, an odd couple comedy act. The night a beautiful naked corpse is found in the bath of their hotel suite, the duo breaks up and they never speak again ... until 15 years later they are somehow brought together by ambitious young writer, Karen O'Connor (Alison Lohman) who is desperately trying to write the Vince Collins biography - complete with details surrounding the mystery death - but competing with Lanny's own plans to publish his life story. Her book would be a million dollar deal for Collins, but her hero worship of the duo gets a bucketing as she gets more and more involved with both men - and more disillusioned about them. The mystery of the dead Maureen (Rachel Blanchard) remains tantalisingly elusive.

Review by Louise Keller:
A bewitching tale whose angles swing as provocatively as the sex, Where The Truth Lies dishes up a tasty dose of deception, murder and mayhem. There are secrets, shocks and sex. Plenty of it. And for all persuasions. So the R rating is no surprise. Guys are bashed, girls are bedded. Often as obtuse as David Lynch's Mulholland Drive, Atom Egoyan's film makes us feel anything but safe. When we are sucked into the celebrity world of showbiz duo Lanny Morris and Vince Collins, we have no idea where the journey will take us, when minds and emotions are churned out like spaghetti in a pasta maker. One thing is certain. We are not bored.

Alison Lohman (Big Fish, Matchstick Men) is a mix of sultry and innocent as the central character who skilfully weaves herself into everyone's story. There's a sensational story to tell and we hear it from three points of view. Or maybe four. Kevin Bacon is arresting as the glib, smooth-talking Lanny, while Colin Firth's against-type portrayal of the complex and tormented Vince is amazing. Opposite in every way to the Darcy-like character we have come to expect from him, this is Firth as we have not seen him before. Tough, violent, out of control. Lanny and Vince will do anything for each other - or almost everything.

Pills are popped and washed down with expensive wine. Room service means more than the food that is wheeled on a trolley. Reuben (David Hayman) the valet is discreet and always on hand. But what does go on behind security chains and locked doors, when skimpily clad girls are on parade and champagne and lobster on ice is laid on by the mob? What are the secrets that Lanny and Vince have bottled up so tightly, that the cork is now about to explode?

Egoyan's script adaptation of Rupert Holmes's novel is skillfully structured, and I especially love the use of music. The instruments in the orchestra sweep, pound, wail, and moan. The emotional tempo is fluid, enticing. Greed, ambition and manipulation have never been so complex.

Review by Andrew L. Urban:
With its pithy irony, the title of the film is already playing with our minds as the title credits launch us into 50s showbiz in America, where famed and feted stars Lanny Morris (Kevin Bacon) and Vince Collins (Colin Firth) - a variation on the Dean Martin / Jerry Lewis act - play against each other's stage character. Needless to say, they attract crime dudes as well as women of all kinds - including Maureen (Rachel Blanchard) who works in room service at a classy hotel, but aspires to be a writer. When the comedy duo book in, Maureen makes a gambit for the ladder of success, putting herself inside the dangerous, drug & alcohol fuelled world of Lanny and Vince. When sex rears its ugly head, a surprising twist turns the debauched night into a deadly and life changing event for all. And 15 years pass before somebody comes wanting to metaphorically dig up the body ...

Atom Egoyan's adaptation of Rupert Holmes' novel is a masterful example of how to treat such a dense, complex and multi faceted work. He teeters on the edge of confusion for the first half of the film, as he swings the action back and forth in time, keeping his audience busy with plot and character arcs. Even though there are elements of the classic whodunit in the film, the structure retains a high grade tension with this time shuffling, and given that the present is about the past, such time jumps are inevitable. To their credit, the actors deliver seamless transitions from one period to another, both in physical and the all important emotional terms.

Beautifully shot and designed, with a lush orchestral score, Where The Truth Lies is a cinematic pleasure, powerfully combining story and character.

With its menu of fame, power, money, glamour, sex, drugs and more sex, the film is never dull; Egoyan also makes sure that we are desperate to learn the truth behind the mystery of the dead woman - and he invests enough attention on her that we care. And he does that with all the key characters.

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CAST: Kevin Bacon, Colin Firth, Alison Lohman, Sonja Bennet, Rachel Blanchard, David Hayman, Maury Chaykin, Kristin Adams, Sonja Bennett, Deborah Grover, Beau Starr

PRODUCER: Robert Lantos

DIRECTOR: Atom Egoyan

SCRIPT: Atom Egoyan (novel by Rupert Holmes)


EDITOR: Susan Shipton

MUSIC: Mychael Danna


RUNNING TIME: 108 minutes



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