Where the Truth Lies (18) | Close-Up Film Review

Dir. Atom Egoyan, Canada/UK/USA, 2005, 108mins

Cast: Kevin Bacon, Colin Firth, Alison Lohman

Review by Dave Smith

Where the Truth Lies is a dark journey through the decadent side of fame, fortune, and success. The film begins in the 1950′s, centering around the showbiz double act of Lanny Morris (Bacon), a brash, manic American and Vince Collins (Firth), a smooth, suave Englishman. After a night of wild passion with a woman called Maureen goes seriously wrong, their world is torn apart. With the help of the mob, they both have airtight alibis for the evening, but despite escaping criminal charges, their reputation is tarnished, and their friendship and partnership in tatters. They go on to salvage separate careers, never talking about the events of that fateful evening.

Fast forward to the 1970′s. Karen O’Connor (Lohman), a young journalist, is determined to uncover the secrets of Morris and Collins who, coincidentally, touched her life when she was a child. She persuades a publisher to offer a wary Vince Collins one million dollars to assist in writing the untold story of his life with Morris.

As O’Connor begins her investigations, she discovers a multi-layered web of truth and untruths, not least a hidden truth about herself: her own agenda in this quest.

The situation is further complicated when a chance meeting with Morris on a flight leads to a brief but passionate liaison which returns to haunt her.

Based on the novel by Rupert Holmes, Where the Truth Lies is essentially a murder mystery with the feel of Film Noir, shot most effectively in flashback, with the storyline progressed with voiceovers by the main characters. There is a strong sexual content which has caused problems with the film’s certification but they are not gratuitous and, indeed, are crucial to the plot, demonstrating the full depths of depravity the misuse of celebrity can bring.

There are strong performances from all the cast. Firth – usually seen as an out-and-out ladies man – is a revelation as the alcoholic, drug taking, possibly bisexual Collins.

Bacon continues to take chances with the roles he chooses. Morris, outwardly charming but with a dark side lurking, is no exception and only adds to the fine body of work he has created.

Lohman’s character is the lynchpin of the movie, and while her performance as the Nancy Drew-like journalist is not quite at the same level as those of Bacon and Firth, she is nevertheless still highly watchable.

In Where the Truth Lies , Egoyan has created a compelling piece of work, darkly erotic, humorous but also, at times, poignant. The twists and turns retain the audience’s attention till the very end. How far will a star go before it’s too far? What we think of celebrity status will never be quite the same again.

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