Review Date:
Director: Matthew Warchus
Writer: Matthew Warchus and David Nicholls
Producers: J-F Fonlupt, D. Lupovitz, T. Oberwelland
Jeff Bridges as Carter
Nick Nolte as Vinnie
Catherine Keener as Cecilia
Sharon Stone as Rosie
The lives of a rich horse-breeder and his wife are turned upside-down when an old friend returns with some incriminating evidence to link them to a blackmailing scheme which occurred about 20 years earlier.
Interesting premise and build-up turns into a ho-hum mystery flick with very little intrigue or originality, filled with overwrought drama in the face of underwhelming secrets and characters who behave in ways inexplicable and unexplained to the audience. Mystery dramas work best when a deep, dark secret draws layers and layers of deceit, blackmail and revenge on top of the original cover-up, but this film basically takes one blackmailing secret and blows it up to be more than what it truly is. In fact, this supposedly “dark secret” seems to have been eating away at these people for over twenty years, but according to what I saw in this film, there wasn’t really much to be worrying about in the first place. In fact, the movie doesn’t even really bother resolving anything regarding the secret, save for a few bogus attempts by one of the original blackmailers to seek revenge on the others, but even that doesn’t really go anywhere. If there is some deeper meaning in this film about how one’s past is always set to haunt them, well then fine, whoop-dee-doo, good point.

But why waste a perfectly well-established blackmailing background when you are just going to beat around its bush for an hour and a half, offer very little intrigue or suspense, and end it all off on a shoulder-shrugging whimper? What a bust. It’s too bad because I was actually interested in this movie for most of its length, with a definite kudo in the way of the flashback sequences which helped establish the back-story as the film progressed. Albert Finney was also a standout as the old man with a sorted past, as well as Keener who spiced up her cute, innocent role with some of her usual flair. Of course, Bridges and Nolte respectively stamped in their proverbial roles as the upper-class dude with great blow-dried hair and the two-bit boozehound with a messed up doo. And Stone, aaah Sharon Stone, what can we say? Can anyone say “over-acting” or a cheap imitation of the classic Jessica Lange drunk? Luckily for her, she’s barely in this film, but I think it’s time for her agent to start handing her more of the “sexier” scripts, since her foray into the world of character flicks, seems to falling flat. All in all, this film does have a decent premise and solid acting for the most part, but doesn’t fill in enough holes, offer enough real suspense or give us enough insight into the motivations of its characters to warrant a recommendation from my end.

(c) 2021 Berge Garabedian