Where the Truth Lies
Where the Truth Lies boasts such a venerable cast and director that you almost feel compelled to enjoy it. But by taking the book too literally, this complicated mess is a rare disappointment from director Atom Egoyan.
Ah, the old naïve-unsuspecting-female-reporter trick. It's a useful device designed to take a plot in several directions--and Where the Truth Lies capitalizes on it. In 1972 L.A., Karen O'Connor (Alison Lohman) is an up-and-coming celebrity profiler looking to write a book on the 50s showbiz team of Lanny (Kevin Bacon) and Vince (Colin Firth), and the mysterious circumstances that shrouded their dissolution. It was a little-known incident--basically a girl wound up dead in their hotel room at the height of their popularity--that led to their demise. Yeah, it sounds fishy to Karen, too, and she's forced to go beyond gonzo journalism to get her unlikely answers from unlikely sources.
The cast here is forced to wrap their collective brain around some cumbersome--and sexually explicit material. But of course, this comes easily to these pros. Bacon continues his enigmatic trend of offbeat projects, and he is a revelation yet again. He plays Lanny with a dead-on 50s swagger and a 70s gravity that is astounding, even if the role seems somewhat familiar. Bacon's cohort Firth has played villainous before and while its not necessarily his strongest suit, he has never been as maniacal as he is here, an idol who's fallen from grace. He's eerily good at it. Lohman has the nondescript charm to switch from ladylike to childlike in the same breath. But it feels like pedophilia when she's featured in one of those gratuitous sex scenes just mentioned.
Writer-director Atom Egoyan may be to blame for Where the Truth Lies' shortcomings, but he deserves a reprieve. Based on the acclaimed novel, Egoyan tries his best to adapt the dense material but the cinematic realization is unnecessarily convoluted. It's a daunting task adapting books because novelist don't have to adhere to the limitations placed upon screenwriters; they can go into lengthy detail. It might make for a great read, but Truth the movie simply goes through way too many doors to arrive at a conclusion that is merely out of left field instead of right in front of you but hidden from view. Another huge problem is the gratuitous nudity. An extensive sex scene is fine once in awhile, but Lohman must've felt downright violated after the nature of her scene.