In this starkly realistic examination of love and infidelity among thethirtysomething crowd from down under we learn that you may desire tocheat on your spouse, but it's better if you don't.<br><br>Leon Zat, a police detective played with an original and strikingdemeanor by Anthony LaPaglia, cheats on his wife and finds that hisadultery compromises not only his marriage but his performance on thejob. He becomes irritable and flies off the handle at things of littleimportance, and becomes consumed with guilt.<br><br>He is not alone. The marriage of John Knox (Geoffrey Rush) andpsychiatrist Valerie Somers (Barbara Hershey) is falling apart as Knoxseeks something from the outside and Somers is torn apart with thesuspicion that he is having a homosexual affair, perhaps with one ofher clients. Meanwhile Jane O'May (Zat's adulteress played by RachaelBlake) finds that she needs a man, or maybe two, other than herestranged husband. Even Sonja Zat (Kerry Armstrong) feels the pressureand yearns to feel attractive, perhaps with younger men.<br><br>More than halfway through we have an apparent murder and aninvestigation during the course of which some of the adulteries come tolight and cause the participants to examine themselves and their livesclosely.<br><br>Andrew Dovell wrote the subtle, richly attired script, full ofpenetrating dialogue and an uncompromising veracity, adapting it fromhis play Speaking in Tongues. Ray Lawrence directed in an unusual butcompelling manner in which the scenes are sharply focused and cut tolinger in our minds. Again and again I was startled with just howexactly right was something a character said or did. Lawrence'sexacting attention to detail gives the film a textured and deeplylayered feel so that one has the sense of real life fully lived. Thecast is uniformly excellent although LaPaglia stands out because of hismost demanding role. His performance is one of the best I have seen inrecent years. The only weakness in the film is a somewhat lethargicstart, partially caused by Lawrence's cinéma vérité scene constructionand editing. What he likes to do is lead us to a realization along withthe characters and then punctuate the experience by lingering on thescene, or in other cases by cutting quickly away. Often what otherdirectors might show, he leaves to our imagination, and at other timeshe shows something seemingly trivial which nonetheless stays in ourmind. John Knox's affair, for example, is not shown. Jane O'May and herhusband's reconciliation is left to our mind's eye. Yet the scene withValerie Somers in the lighted telephone booth (with graffiti) is shownat length and then what happens next is not. These are interestingdirectorial choices.<br><br>The ending comes upon us, as it sometimes should, unexpectedly, butthen resonates so that we can see and feel the resolution. Noteverything is tied up. Again we are left in some cases to use our ownimagination.<br><br>This original film, one of the best of the new millennium I have seen,stayed with me long after they ran the closing credits. It is wellworth the two hours.<br><br>(Note: Over 500 of my movie reviews are now available in my book "Cutto the Chaise Lounge or I Can't Believe I Swallowed the Remote!" Get itat Amazon!)
Drama / Mystery
Drama / Mystery
Trust. A dead body in bracken. A cop cheats on his unhappy wife who, in secret, sees a psychiatrist whose own marriage is corroded by grief: she thinks her husband is having an affair with a gay patient of hers. The cop's lover, Jane, is recently separated, and her neighbors - a couple with children - include a muscular unemployed man. Late one night, the doctor skids off a back road, finds a call box, and tries in vain to reach her husband. She sees headlights and flags down the driver. Later that night, Jane sees her neighbor park his truck and throw something into the lantana in a vacant lot. It's a woman's shoe. Unraveling the mystery lays bare five couples.
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