Where the Truth Lies
There were three reasons why I wanted to see Where the Truth Lies, before I saw the trailer or heard anything more about it than the casting. Kevin Bacon, Colin Firth and the final one, Bacon and Firth together.
Bacon is a superb actor, one that entirely smothers you in his role. Firth has been typecast for a long time, and only until I had seen Trauma did I realise what he was really capable of, so I was hoping for more. Then the unique pairing of these two characters, and the setting against type, was all too much. I had to see the movie.
Luckily I was invited to a press screening for it at the fantastic, but troubled, Cameo cinema.
The first thing that hits you about this movie is the richness and the detail, the Production Design is flawless and builds the two time periods in which the film inhabits perfectly. It's interesting that in many movies that look to past events there's quite often something that catches your eye and makes you giggle about the period, particularly for the seventies, and yet there was nothing in this movie that did that at all. I wasn't distracted and laughing at sideburns, flairs, collars, anything.
I think this is down to the excellent work on the Production Design. Everything seems perfectly authentic and in its place, nothing seems over the top or over imagined. It's so real that it immerses you in the period your watching and there's no doubt where the characters are or what they are doing. I can't praise this aspect of the movie enough.
Bacon and Firth are utterly superb in the movie. They are exceptionally strong in their roles and give very rich, detailed and at times extremely subtle performances. Both actors are really playing against type, Bacon is a lover of women and wouldn't raise a hand to anyone, whereas Firth is a very violent man, verging on drug abuse.
It's interesting that Firth comes forward as the stronger actor for me, I would have been convinced that it would have been Bacon before the movie. Seeing Firth in this role of a violent man on the edge of something terrifying is powerful stuff and at times quite moving.
Alison Lohman provides another strong performance, but is slightly obscured by the two male leads. That's not a slight on her acting here, it's very good, but the two male leads just carry such weight throughout the story that there's not much chance for her to shine. Although there are a few moments where she does come forward, and one of them is during her exceptionally strong sex scene.
There's nothing hidden in this movie, that's clear from the plot itself, it's uncovering the truth behind the story that has remained covered up for so long, and with that many things are laid bare. Lohman's drug induced sex scene is extremely well filmed, and quite erotic in the true meaning of the word, and also quite beautiful. There's a clear love for portraying everything beautifully and accurately in front of the camera, not just the sets themselves.
The movie, for the most part, is a series of recollections and interviews, and within are some intense scenes of a sexual, violent and emotional nature. Within the context of the movie none of these seem overly extreme or out of place, but natural and shown with the same care as the design of the sets themselves.
There are some cheesy moments though, the symbolising of a dead child by the tree in the mothers garden, describing her as she holds the fruit in her hands. This seems out of place more than the other scenes mentioned above, but it doesn't really harm the enjoyment of the movie.
What is interesting is how little the actual who dunnit part of the movie really was. Throughout the movie I could feel tension rising, and at key scenes you may be taken to a mini-crescendo, but there was a slow continual rise towards the climax and revelation. It was quite early on that my mind made a snap and guessed the outcome, and usually I would find myself cursing this and my enjoyment of the movie would falter, but not in this case.
The revelation, although is key, very strong, and there is an element of surprise, they're not as important to the movie as the actual journey. It's the learning and understanding of the characters involved that becomes key. Understanding their relationships and finding out what truth lies beneath them, not the story itself. It's these aspects of the movie that slowly capture you and pull you into the story, and it's these elements that are fascinating to watch.
I'd highly recommend this movie for its richness and attention to detail alone, but it's true fascination is in the acting combination of Kevin Bacon and Colin Firth who are extremely good on screen. The story is very well written, and you find yourself discovering aspects of the plot as the reporter does, and that's a sign of a good script. What also makes this a great movie is the balance, it's not weighted to the far end and the climax, it's the entire story that bears the weight of the audience interest. Yet it still delivers a very satisfying ending.