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15 out of 20 people found the following review useful:

Tries WAAAAY Too Hard....

Author: b_clerkin from New York
14 June 2006

Is it a war movie? Is it film noir? Is it cheap titillation? A deep exploration of complex and controversial relationships? This film cannot decide what it is and so, as another person noted, must require several viewings in order to make sense. Sadly, it is just not compelling enough to warrant multiple viewings - unlike other films that ARE rich with complex themes and artistic vision.

The actors valiantly try to overcome the morass that is the script - but were probably as annoyed as the rest of us at the myriad loose threads that never tie up.

Adrian Dunbar portrays the frustration of someone tempted and confused by things around him - he must be the avatar for the viewer. Stephen Dorff offers another workmanlike portrayal of your friendly neighborhood rebel without a clue. Gabrielle Anwar, who is usually a fine actor, is stuck with a character whose neuroses become tedious and irritating by the end of the film. Joanna Lumley escapes caricature by a false eyelash and looks luminous in the period fashions. The rest of the cast are superfluous at best and annoying distractions at worst, doing nothing to advance the story. They and the plot lines that involve them do not even qualify as decent red herrings.

The cinematography is lovely - very atmospheric and evocative of the era - as are the costumes and staging.

Unfortunately, Dewolf's grasp at Art exceeded his reach and no amount of plot devices can make this murky movie anything more than a mild diversion. Perhaps the fault lies with the editing - which would explain the subplots that disappear and other senseless oddities. A tighter script, a focused plot, and less cheap titillation would have permitted this talented cast to fully engage the viewer in a riveting mystery flick.

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14 out of 19 people found the following review useful:

All Style and No Substance

4/10
Author: FStriptych from United States
18 February 2006

If you like longing glances into the misty distance, unmotivated yet psychotic incest, and daft police work, you'll love this waste of time and film.

The casting director clearly liked a specific "look" of female. As a result, I spent the first half of the movie just trying to keep the female characters straight. Beautiful women are not enough to save this flimsiest of scripts, however.

I feel cheated. I could've been playing solitaire. It would've been equally fulfilling. Clearly, I do not recommend this movie. I was hoping for so much more from a largely watchable cast.

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12 out of 16 people found the following review useful:

Big mess

3/10
Author: sergepesic from Minneapolis, USA
27 April 2008

I am a passionate lover of movies and actors. American, foreign, documentaries, independent- all kinds of movies. I usually try to find the silver lining in every movie I watch. Hard work and risk taking deserve at least that much from a viewer. This movie was very irritating to watch. It didn't even follow it's own plot. It would pick up and drop story lines randomly without any logic. Relationships were contrived, some to shock, some for lack of better ideas. Acting was not very inspired, it's hard to see how could it possibly be with this script. It was messy, unfinished and irritating. So much for silver lining on this one.

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16 out of 24 people found the following review useful:

Very good movie

9/10
Author: Karl Mauk (karl.mauk@aon.at) from Vienna, Austria
2 August 1998

Very good movie even though a bit complicated to follow when seen for the first time. It is one of those movies you need to see at least twice to fully appreciate it. The principal actors, first of all Gabrielle Anwar, and Stephen Dorff, are outstanding. Noteworthy is also Patrick Blossier´= s excellent photography.

Having said that I still think with this highly imaginative and original story at his hands Patrick Dewulf could have done more, simply by concentrating on the main characters. There are too many subplots there that are rather superfluous in that they do not contribute to the main story which is intense enough and need not be pepped up.

But still: An excellent movie! I highly recommend it.

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7 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

breaking a taboo, becoming a taboo

Author: Triss S from Belgium
9 August 2011

I tend to like movies like this one- quiet, destined to be seen on TV late at night after some red wine to quench insomnia. Yeah... some called it a bore, but so was Mansfield Park...to an extent. it's been quite a while since I have seen it and the details are a bit fuzzy, but if a movie of its rank made it in the realm of my daily wanderings, then it has to have at least one quality. Maybe I liked the setting,the cold morning air-the blue air that conveys darkness and mystery to most Poirot series or the landscapist pov it offered at times just to be changed with the eye of a mute detective at others. I almost liked those, but not quite. Being very fond of art, this movie reminded me of Tamara de Lempicka's paintings: very art deco, showing us more than just a glimpse of the 30s aristocracy, very daring without excelling in creativity. just that. the ending was unsurprising,not really a letdown but the deranged late 30s atmosphere, the uncontrollable animalism depicted in different character liaisons saved it.

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5 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

A Seductive Picture

4/10
Author: johnniedoo from United States
10 October 2010

The cinematography of this film was brilliant, choice of location plus the genius of the camera work kept me enthralled with a shallow and convoluted plot that took red herring to waters it had never been to before. The little hamlet and eccentric interiors made an impossible film watchable, enjoyable even. The premise of the plot was the suicide or murder concept of the hero regarding the best friend and introduced in the first scenes. The rest of the movie was interwoven and seemingly totally disconnected scenes of incest or gratuitous pants dropping or bums in the buff. There were some of the scenes that served no purpose other than to expose an actor's body to the camera or tight shots of Adrian Dunbar's nose. It was as if the editors tossed the dailies up in the air and pasted them together quickly based on aesthetics rather than plot advancement. I think there was a plot at one time in the manuscript but it was discarded and the film became a series of patchwork scenes lacking cohesion. I was glad it was over though it was not easy to tell when that was going to happen because it could have been anywhere along the line. It was not a great film, a dozen yrs old and so aggravating it inspired me to take more time on it and write a 'review' on a pretty bad movie.

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18 out of 32 people found the following review useful:

Intense, tight, well-acted thriller

9/10
Author: smokehill retrievers from Chancellorsville VA
21 October 2002

After expecting the usual ho-hum, self-indulgent little trifle that usually springs forth whenever too many French people are allowed on the set, I was pleased to find a very fast-paced, compelling little drama that probably bombed at the box office because of too little nudity and not enough car chases to keep the 20-something set amused.

The numerous subplots do require a bit of concentration, so you can't chatter on the phone and still expect to keep it all straight, but it's well worth the effort. This film is a bit dark, but not depressing, and is well worth the rental cost if you can't find it on cable. It's much better than 95% of the crud they usually inflict upon us.

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10 out of 17 people found the following review useful:

A family saga.....

3/10
Author: dbdumonteil
3 June 2006

....as Visconti showed it in a work such as "la cadeti dei degli" (1969) demands much more than "Innocent lies" 's director can do.Outside the brother and the sister ,and the cop (who is humming twice bribes of the old Irish tune "Carrickfergus" ;the connection with the movie escapes me,I am afraid),the other characters are only silhouettes and you have a feeling that some essential scenes are lacking ,for this a relatively short movie all the same (barely 90 min).Some subplots ,such as the first cop's investigation and suicide are only skimmed over.Ditto for the Jewish wife's scene.As for the incestuous sister's unfortunate fiancé ,he has two or three lines to say and that's it.

The users were harsh when they rated the movie and I can sadly find little fault with that.

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Very dark, but great actors.

7/10
Author: Predrag (pzivojinovic@yahoo.com) from Serbia
13 June 2016

This film goes into areas that most others are afraid to enter and really makes the best of a great story line. It also has a cast of fantastic actors who play their roles with the right amount of mystique and venomous betrayal. I loved the character of Jeremy, he was well-played and had an amazing level of complexity. He's a completely despicable person, but you can't help but to be drawn to the cunning and disregardful nature of his character. The young lady playing Jeremy's sister is also very believable in her role as the childish, and incestuous girl who can't quite bring herself to get away from her brother. The whole movie is a work of art, and very well done.

You need to understand the times. Frightened by communist spread, many in Europe turned to Nazis for help in fighting the menace especially the wealthy. In 1938, into this milieu, a British detective, played by Adrian Dunbar, seeks to find how a friend had died. The only clue he has leads to the Graves, an English family living in France. The mother is pro Nazi. Two of the siblings seem possibly be in an incestuous relationship. Another sibling had been slain in an accident years before. This "accident" leads to blackmail and incest. This may be what the deceased friend had discovered that lead to his death.

Stephen Dorff and Gabrielle Anwar play the nearly-grown siblings. Anwar is at the peak of attractiveness. I usually hate to see girls who look like their lips have been smashed by a brick but in this one case I make an exception. She seems to want out of the relationship but can't resist Dorff's touch, even on the eve of her wedding. More murders occur as Dunbar seems about to break the case. But he, too, is under Anwar's spell. He wants to help her escape, when Dorff shows up again. I don't want to spoil it. The photography is marvelous. The music fits the scene. A enchanting look at pre-war France. And I'm sure if Hitler had seen the mother's taste in art, he'd have had her shot. I recommend it to anyone who loves crime and drama, as well as good acting.

Overall rating: 7 out of 10.

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3 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Masterwork Dream/NightMare

10/10
Author: catholiccsi from United States
19 March 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

One easily underestimates this lovely film. Reading other reviews clearly reveals how easily a viewer misses the essence of this work. The narrative and style remind me very much of "Vertigo", another often misunderstood work. What most works is the subtle script by director Patrick Dewolf and Kerry Crabbe. Substance and style as in the famous Hitchcock classic define one reality.

I am not familiar with most of the cast, but they excel in this work. Casting is on target. The women are as beautiful as any would ever want to see in a romantic film. The visual beauty of the film never distracts from the complexity of the narrative and one's intrigue as the narrative unfolds. The location, of course, is famous, one exploited in many other great films. I do not want to give away any of the story because every moment is important. Highly recommended.

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