Where the Truth Lies - One Bad Apple
| Egoyan was pretty hot shit about 5 or 6 years ago. Then he frittered away most of his buzz with the overweighted but interesting Felicia’s Journey and the overblown and less interesting Ararat. Where the Truth Lies might be a step in the right direction but he is no where near his level of film making as he was in the days of Exotica and The Sweet Hereafter.
Where the Truth Lies is a generally fun film. It’s Egoyan’s attempt at film noir and the pot-boiler mystery is quite a good one. The scenes are all moody and art deco and the era he is trying so hard to evoke is evoked quite effectively. The pulp fiction score adds to the fun and this could have been quite a satisfying genre piece if not for one weakness, a weakness which almost ruins the film.
The big weakness of Where the Truth Lies is Alison Lohman in the lead, an actress with the face of a 12 year old (with a body to match) and the acting chops of… well, an 11 year old. She is so tremendously weak that she ruins every scene she’s in. As the lead, she’s in so many that she manages to ruin so much of the movie despite strong character performances by Kevin Bacon and Colin Firth.
She is supposed to be a strong, independent journalist but with her speaking voice and her cherub like face, she looks like she’s play acting. There is even a pivotal scene where the same actress plays her character at 12 and this is certainly where she is the most convincing. It is certainly more convincing than in her sex scenes which, due to the actress’ poor endowments and baby face, read uncomfortably like child porn.
With a strong actress in this part, one with the right combination of edge and strength, Where the Truth Lies could have been a much better film. As it is, too much of the movie relies on a truly bad performance and never full recovers from the damage Lohman inflicts.
One last note about the NC-17 rating. I admit that I am not American so maybe I can’t understand the Puritanism behind ratings board decisions but, come on! Who in there right mind feels that the sexuality in this film makes Where the Truth Lies a worse film for people under 17 than Sin City? Who in their right mind?