Chris Cooper, Pierce Brosnan, Rachel McAdams, Patricia Clarkson
Kay: I only had him for about 3 years, but I really don’t regret a moment.
Richard: You’re lucky.
Kay: Why? Do you regret anything?
Richard: Lots…and much more to come…
Harry (Cooper) is a middle aged, married man who has fallen in love with a younger woman, Kay (McAdams). Harry introduces Kay to his best friend, Richard (Brosnan), who is also instantly interested in Kay. While Richard plots to steal Kay away from his friend, Harry decides that the only way to leave his wife without leaving her devastated emotionally is to kill her.
As any loyal reader of mine knows, I’m a fan of Alfred Hitchcock, and always enjoy seeing his influence in a movie, or even just a movie that has that Hitchcock feel. This movie has that, and even contains some references to ol’ Alfred as well. The phrase “the trouble with Harry” is uttered at one point, which is the title of a Hitchcock film. Then there’s another scene where Harry is walking up some stairs, bringing a tray of food to his wife that is taken straight out of the movie Suspicion. There were probably other references, but I didn’t catch them.
Director Ira Sachs also pulls off another Hitchcock-like trick, and that is to make the viewer say “oh no!” when they think Harry might be caught trying to poison his wife. That is until you realize, oh yeah, I should be rooting against the guy trying to kill his perfectly nice wife. Though, I shouldn’t say perfectly nice because his wife, Pat (Clarkson), has some secrets of her own.
It’s a credit to the actors that the characters all come off as likable, even though they’re all up to some truly deceitful and cruel activity. McAdams and Cooper are particularly good, though Brosnan, while likable, seems oddly non-energetic. He narrates the movie and is a key player, but when he disappears for about 10 to 15 minutes at one point, I barely noticed he was gone.
This was not a great movie (a good one, for sure), but it’s kind of a throwback to those good old days of movies that relied on dialogue, emotions, and character development to build tension and suspense, rather than violence and an over-stylistic approach. Being set in 1949 probably helped that a bit too, but it just as easily could have been set in modern day. My only real problem with it is that it seemed to pull its punch at the end. I won’t say much more about the ending, other than it seemed like all the tension that was built up just petered out rather than really hitting the viewer hard. It wasn’t a bad ending, but it felt like it let some of the characters off the hook in a way.
Still, I enjoyed it, and would recommend it to anyone who doesn’t mind a character driven suspense movie that relies more on dialogue than shock value.
Don’t trust your best friend around your girlfriend…especially if he looks just like James Bond.
10 – 1.4 for a few dull/repetitive moments – 1.2 for an ending that didn’t seem to entirely fit with the rest of the movie + .3 for some good performances = 7.7