Release Date: September 7th, 2007 (IFC Center) by New Yorker Films.
The Cast: David Thewlis, IrŤne Jacob, Michael Imperioli, Sophie Auster.
Directed by Paul Auster.
BASIC PREMISE: While vacationing at his friendís country house, Martin Frost (Thewlis), a novelist, meets a mysterious woman, Claire (Jacob), who inspires him to write his next novel.
ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: What starts out as a standard lonely writer-meets-sexy muse story turns into a confusing, contrived and unimaginative film. David Thewlis gives a decent performance as Martin Frost, a novelist who spends his time unwinding in his friendís country house surrounded by picturesque scenery. One morning, Martin wakes up to find a strange woman named Claire in his bed and it turns out that her last name is his first name. She claims to be his friendís niece. They both fall in love with one another, although they have very little chemistry together. Neither the audience nor Martin knows for sure whether or not Claire is just a figment of his imagination or real, especially when Martinís friend denies that he has a niece named Claire. From that point on, the plot becomes weirder and weirder and, in turn, more implausible and confusing. A repairman (Imperioli) shows up with his own muse, a mysterious teenager named Anna (Auster), who one day just showed up at his door. Writer/director Paul Auster fails to add any believable or interesting characters to this dull, unimaginative story. He also doesnít establish any particular atmosphere whether it be an eerie one, romantic or thrilling. Too many scenes feel bland, awkward and contrived, especially toward the abrupt, underwhelming ending. If only this were as suspenseful and atmospheric as the far superior film, Swimming Pool.
SPIRITUAL VALUE: Unfortunately, none.
INSULT TO YOUR INTELLIGENCE: Bland, contrived and unimaginative.
NUMBER OF TIMES I CHECKED MY WATCH: 8
IN A NUTSHELL: Decent performances and picturesque scenery donít make up for an awkward, contrived and unimaginative plot.
RECOMMENDED WAY TO WATCH: TV
The "I" Menu