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Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The Other Man (2008)

Unable to get past the grieving process after the death of his wife (Laura Linney), her husband (Liam Neeson) discovers that she had a lover (Antonio Banderas) that he didn't know about. Obsessed with the idea that his seemingly ideal marriage wasn't the perfect marriage he thought it was, Neeson sets out to find the lover and without telling him who he is, get to know him. One would think that the heartbreak of finding out his wife's double life while still grieving would make us sympathetic to Neeson but the character is such a jerk that he doesn't hold us. Banderas as the lover is rather smarmy so we're put off by him, too. Only Linney (though her screen time is brief) as the wife is able to flesh out a character that engages us. The premise holds great promise and for awhile it looks like it might pull it off but the film makers, it was directed by Richard Eyre (NOTES ON A SCANDAL), avoids the messiness that such a complication would bring and gives us a phony "tied up in a nice ribbon" ending. The Italian locations (Milan, Lake Como) are handsome though. The discreet score is by Oscar winner Stephen Warbeck (SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE). With Romola Garai and Craig Parkinson.

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