A failed novelist's inability to pay the bills strains relations with his wife and leads him to work at an escort service where he becomes entwined with a wealthy woman whose husband is a successful writer.
Byron Tiller, happily married with a young child, is a writer whose last novel has ended up in the remainder bins. Down on his luck and struggling to make ends meet, he keeps bashing away, refusing to admit that perhaps he is not that good. One day, at wit's end and feeling sorry for himself, he meets someone who has actually read his book: a rather elegant looking Englishman who introduces himself as Luther Fox. Luther runs an escort agency Elysian Fields, which provides extremely wealthy women with attractive, intelligent dates. Desperate for any job- and Luther guarantees good pay and convinces him that it can be only temporary -Byron reluctantly agrees, keeping the whole thing hidden from his wife. He soon finds himself face-to-face with an extremely attractive woman, whose aging husband is a Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist grappling with a novel that may be his last. Before long, Byron finds himself immersed in a world that he finds almost impossible to believe and even harder to... Written by
Sujit R. Varma
Despite the lukewarm reception by the local and national media for this film, I found myself enjoying this rehash of Faust, tremendously. It's a very old theme, but in here it is told very stylishly and with a lot of panache by director George Hickenlooper based on the screenplay written by Phillip Jayson Lasker.
At the outset, I must say that I'm not the greatest fan of Andy Garcia, but I have to confess that in this film he does probably his best work, despite of other praised roles in the past. His Byron Tiller is a loser. We sense it the moment we see him in Rizzoli trying to recommend his book to an indecisive customer.
His curiosity trying to find out what his office neighbor, Luther Fox, is up to, proves to be his eventual downfall. At home life seems very normal with Dena, his wife, and son. Being broke makes him accept an offer he should have turned down from the very beginning.
The encounter with the Allcotts, Tobias, a best selling author at the end of his life, and Andrea, his wife will be fatal. Are we to believe this was a chance encounter, or was it planned before hand?
Ultimately the viewer will have to arrive to his own conclusions.
All the acting is first rate. Andy Garcia is very effective. So is the rest of the cast, but Mick Jagger is superb portraying this lizard kind of a man who deals with very special situations and needs. Also notable, Olivia Williams, as the ice queen that doesn't even take off her undergarments for a tumble in the hay. James Coburn is a sly fox who knows what he's doing from the very beginning. Julianna Margulies is the only one that has very little to do as the suffering wife.
The film has a glossy and sophisticated look. Viewing it will be satisfying because basically it's a good story well paced and acted.
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