Where the Truth Lies (2005)

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Released 21-Sep-2006

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama Main Menu Audio
Featurette-Making Of
Deleted Scenes
Featurette-Behind The Scenes
Featurette-Unedited B- Roll
Theatrical Trailer
Rating Rated R
Year Of Production 2005
Running Time 102:53
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Atom Egoyan
Studio
Distributor

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Kevin Bacon
Colin Firth
Alison Lohman
David Hayman
Rachel Blanchard
Maury Chaykin
Sonja Bennett
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI $39.95 Music Mychael Danna


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.30:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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Plot Synopsis

   At first glance it seems an odd choice for Canadian indie director Atom Egoyan to make a period murder mystery.

    Scratch the surface of Where the Truth Lies, however, and you will find the same ideas that dominate many of the director's earlier films, from 1987's Family Viewing through to his masterful adaptation of Russell Banks' novel The Sweet Hereafter - namely the difficulty in finding an abiding truth and the practical problems of living with our choices and mistakes.

    Where the Truth Lies is set in 1972 with significant flashbacks to 1957. Kevin Bacon and Colin Firth play Lanny Morris and Vince Collins, a highly successful 1950's musical comedy duo. Lanny is the wired doofus, full of gags, whilst Vince is the very proper British straight man with a glint of the perverse behind his eyes. They are at the top of their game, worshipped by women and mobsters alike.

    On one fateful day in 1957, as they prepare to host a Telethon, a young woman, Maureen (Rachel Blanchard), turns up dead in the bathtub of their hotel suite. The men are never implicated but the effect on their careers is devastating. Back in 1972 Karen (Alison Lohman) is a journalist putting together a story on Lanny and Vince. Unknown to them she was the Telethon girl way back in 1957 and held the duo in the highest esteem. Of all the questions surrounding their career two stand out - why did their duo effectively break up that night and who killed Maureen?

    In a startling turn Karen finds herself on a plane and eventually sharing a bed with Lanny, all the time wondering whether he is capable of murder. Mysteriously, she keeps receiving extracts from Lanny's unpublished memoirs. As she begins to read the memoirs the film dips back into the 50's giving us further insight into the duo. Both seem harmless on the surface but flashes of white hot anger raise her suspicions about both.

    The story twists and turns in a noirish manner with lurid overtones. Whilst the parallels between the career and acrimonious split between Jerry Lewis and Dean Martin are an obvious reference, the film only hints at jealousy beneath that apparently crippled their relationship. The film was controversial for its sex scenes (featuring group sex) and the director fought hard but unsuccessfully to get a teen rating for the film. It suffered badly at the box office and earned Egoyan some of his most hostile criticism of his career.

    It is not a traditional film by any means and Lohman struggles hard to get the essence of her journalist character who carries her own share of secrets. Bacon and Firth are uniformly good, from their dazzling heights to their sad low in the 70's with Vince virtually a hermit and Lanny an ageing Lothario without fame as his prop. Although many critics have argued that the actors are miscast this only seems an issue when too much effort is put into the Martin and Lewis comparisons. Special mention should be made of the make-up which convincingly ages both characters in a subtle but effective manner.

    Where the Truth Lies is an enjoyable quirky mystery even if the whole doesn't quite gel. Bacon and Firth play enough against type that fans of either actor will get a buzz out of their performances.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The transfer for Where the Truth Lies is rendered at an aspect ratio of 2.30:1 which is close to the original aspect ratio of 2.35:1. It is 16x9 enhanced.

    The quality of the transfer is all that you should be entitled to expect from a recent mid-budget movie. The only "defects" are stylistic. The film spans two time periods and the 1957 scenes are rendered with a degree of soft focus to differentiate them from the 1970's scenes which are well shot to make them look like the 1970's. In other words the film convincingly portrays both eras.

    The colours are period appropriate and the skin tones are accurate.

    Shadow detail is muted in the 1950's scenes. There is minimal grain and no artefacts or other problems with the transfer.

    There are English subtitles for the Hearing Impaired which give a good account of the on-screen dialogue and action.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    The audio for Where the Truth Lies is English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s). The film is dialogue based and it is rare that the surround is used to its full effect. Nevertheless, this is a nice sounding film and the dialogue is at all times clear and easy to understand.

    There are no problems with audio sync.

    The music by regular Egoyan contributor Mychael Danna is an intriguing blend of big band for the 50's and a noirish theme for the 70's that recalls both the Bernard Hermann themes for Hitchcock and Twin Peaks.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Main Menu Audio

    This is a picture of a woman's bare back accompanied by some murder mystery music.

Featurette-Making Of 5.24

    This is actually a misnomer as it is really just a set of filmed rehearsals and shooting for the film. Nevertheless it was quite interesting as it takes us closer to the process of filmmaking than a similar feature in a big budget movie as we are taken in tighter to the action. It was fun to see the crew dressing inflatable people to fill out the auditorium for the Telethon scene - no CGI here!

Deleted Scenes 10.15

    Although there are a dozen deleted scenes most are just trimmed takes from the film. The only major omission was the omission of Karen's parents entirely from the film which was probably the right decision. There is also an extended denouement which could have made its way into the film.

Featurette-Behind The Scenes 10.47

    This is the actual Making of feature as it consists of interviews with the cast and key members of the production team as they all take a stab at the themes and ideas behind the film. And before anyone asks - there are no features on the sex scenes.

Featurette Unedited B Roll 12.21

    This is a reasonably lengthy fly-on-the-wall feature showing the filming of the nightclub and Telethon scenes from the film. It is interesting as it shows the cast and crew working to get the scenes right. It shows Egoyan as a quiet but insistent director.

Theatrical Trailer 2.05

    The trailer for the film is particularly good, although it reveals a good deal of the film, in particular lots of glimpses of naked flesh.

Censorship

    There is censorship information available for this title. Click here to read it (a new window will open). WARNING: Often these entries contain MAJOR plot spoilers.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    Region 1 sports two versions of the film. One is the Unrated version and the other the U.S. theatrical version with some trimmings to the sex scenes. The Region 1 versions feature only two of the extras. The Region 4 is the same as the unrated version. The Region 3 version has DTS sound but limited extras. The Region 2 UK version is identical in terms of features.

Summary

    Where the Truth Lies is a bold stab at the perverse film noir genre from a director usually concerned with ice-hard slices of modern life. It is a little too out-there for common tastes but does offer real rewards for those who like their films a little off-kilter.

    David Lynch fans will also find a little of their favourite quirkiness on show.

    The transfer is quite pretty and the sound is effective without being outstanding.

    The extras are interesting but also not earth-shattering.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Trevor Darge (read my bio)
Thursday, August 31, 2006
Review Equipment
DVDOnkyo DV-SP300, using Component output
DisplayNEC PlasmaSync 42" MP4 1024 x 768. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver.
AmplificationOnkyo TX-SR600 with DD-EX and DTS-ES
SpeakersJBL Simply Cinema SCS178 5.1

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