Kathryn Vale (Lena Olin) is a reclusive ex-movie star with a dark secret and a daughter hoping to follow in her mother's movie-star footsteps. When Kathryn attempts to make a career ...
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After moving with her mother to a small town, a teenager finds that an accident happened in the house at the end of the street. Things get more complicated when she befriends a boy who was the only survivor of the accident.
April (age 15) is running from one bad situation into another, hoping to find an answer that doesn't involve nudity, and falls in with a group of confused kids chasing their dreams. The black widow in the web is the sexy, pot-dealing Sally.
Kathryn Vale (Lena Olin) is a reclusive ex-movie star with a dark secret and a daughter hoping to follow in her mother's movie-star footsteps. When Kathryn attempts to make a career comeback, she is threatened by an anonymous blackmailer. The resulting events force Kathryn to confront the truth about herself and those around her. Written by
Very easy to see why this film took so long to be released
The initial premise was cool and interesting, and if executed right it had the potential to be a solid film.
And this viewer also really likes Rosamund Pike (like in 'An Education', 'Barney's Version', 'Pride and Prejudice', 'Made in Dagenham' and in particular 'Gone Girl', and while 'Die Another Day' has a lot of problems she is one of the best things about it), who has generally really grown as an actress. In fact there is some good talent here.
Sadly, 'The Devil You Know' does very little with it. It took a long time to be released, and it is very easy to see why. There are two redeeming qualities. One is some nice shots at the start (like the opening with Zoe and the water fountain), which were quite moody and stylish. The other is the performance of Pike who like in the recent 'Return to Sender' does a very admirable job with material that is quite frankly beneath her. She is also the only one who looks involved and seems natural. As much as this is going to sound like hero worship, when it actually isn't as there is the acknowledgement that along with some great work she has had misfires, she is not to be judged, like she has been (based on a thread on her message board regarding her facial expressions, which resorted to hyperbole and insults), solely on performances in 'Jack Reacher', 'Wrath of the Titans' and 'Doom'. Those films did nothing for her talents and gave her virtually nothing to do, even the best of actors would struggle to bring believability to the material she was given in them, something that all her detractors on that thread ignored.
Unfortunately the rest of the cast struggle. Lena Olin has the film's most nonsensical character, and practically sleepwalks through it, any acting talent is clearly forgotten here. Dean Winters, who has shown skill in comedic roles and playing it straight, looks very uncomfortable, never have seen him so out of his depth actually. As for Jennifer Lawrence, her appearance is so brief it can be forgiven if one questions whether she was in this at all (a complete waste and waste of talent is one of the worst things a film can commit in my view). There is no natural chemistry, while stilted dialogue, lazy direction (stylistically and dramatically) and nonsensically written characters (that, apart from Zoe, were impossible to relate to) do nothing in their favour, instead working against them.
'The Devil You Know' is very lazily directed, with shots that border on self-indulgent (like a mix of a glorified fashion show and pornographic-like shots of legs), complete lack of engagement with the story and literally non-existent direction of the actors. The editing is so dizzying and slip-shod it is sometimes hard to make out what's going on. The look of the film is drab and poorly lit, even for a mystery-thriller. The script throughout is laughable and the embarrassment on people's faces could be seen very clearly. The story is a complete failure, and for me the worst component of the entire film. Which is saying a lot for a film that has so little to recommend it. There is absolutely no suspense or tension, it takes far too long to get going and remains tedious throughout, it is far too thin to sustain the running time and the red herrings were either underdeveloped or incredibly confusing, which gave 'The Devil You Know' such a confused feel that the worst parts bordered on the incoherent.
Overall, aside from some nice shots at the start and Pike 'The Devil You Know' is a mess. 2/10 Bethany Cox
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