Release Date: November 11th, 2005 by The Weinstein Company.
The Cast: Clive Owen, Jennifer Aniston, Vincent Cassel, Melissa George, RZA, Addison Timlin, Tom Conti, Xzibit, Giancarlo Esposito, David Morrissey.
Directed by Mikael Hafstrom.
BASIC PREMISE: After Charles (Owen) has an affair with Lucinda (Aniston), Phillipe (Cassel), a criminal, shows up to blackmail him for money and to threaten his life.
ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: Clive Owen and Jennifer Aniston both give decent performances, but the script has too many improbable twists and turns to make their characters’ actions believable. When Charles and Lucinda accidentally meet on the train for the second time, they immediately run off to a hotel together. Vincent Cassel is very well cast as the menacing Philippe. Before they can even have sexual intercourse, he barges through their door, punches Charles, and rapes Lucinda. Soon after, Charles’ life has changed: Phillipe demands $20,000 plus another $100,000. In a creepy scene, he shows up in a business suite at his house while flirting with his wife Deanna (George) and pretending to be a business colleague. While she’s in the kitchen, Phillipe grabs him by the balls and forces him to get him the money. When he leaves, the completely oblivious Deanne says to Charles, “He seems like a very nice guy.” When Winston (RZA), a former gangster, offers to help him, the plot becomes much more complicated with increasing violence. The third-act is particularly twisted and chaotic, but at least it doesn’t go for a Sixth Sense -type ending. It’s somewhat fun to look back at all the small details and clues that you had initially taken for granted, but that were actually a foreshadow of the final twist. The script simply tries too hard to be surprising without any subtleties.
SPIRITUAL VALUE: The only message is that you should think twice before you cheat on your lover behind his or her back. It rarely ends well.
INSULT TO YOUR INTELLIGENCE: Excessive, contrived plot twists.
NUMBER OF TIMES I CHECKED MY WATCH: 2
THE BOTTOM LINE: Well-cast with decent performances, but its many contrived twists makes the plot too gimmicky and often clichéd.
RECOMMENDED WAY TO WATCH: VHS/DVD
The "D" Menu