2 hours ago
Friday, 15 March 2013
Film: 'SIDE EFFECTS'
(I hear that his yet-to-be-released American TV film on Liberace, 'Behind the Candelabra', may be given a theatrical release in Britain. I do hope it does.)
'Side Effects' is especially regrettable coming, as it does, from the same director as his brilliant 'Traffic' (2000).
Jude Law plays a doctor who takes as his patient a depression-prone young married woman who has apparently just made a suicide attempt. The drug he prescribes her seems to have an unforeseen catastrophic consequence in causing her to carry out an horrific, sudden killing which she doesn't recall doing. Court case ensues revolving around whether or not she was of sound mind, which reveals Law's part in providing her with the causal drug after which, because of publicity, his reputation becomes toxic and his partners wish to disassociate themselves from him to save themselves from also going under. He, meanwhile, is determined to satisfy himself as to the 'true' cause of his patient's horrific action and to prove his innocence, while all the while his own marriage cracks up under the pressure.
Jude Law is competent enough while Catherine Zeta-Jones, as the patient's former doctor, does her steely-resolved, duplicitous, ice-queen act again - which, I find, is always a pleasure to watch.
While I can accept the almost constant sepia-tinted look of the film I don't know why it was necessary to make nearly all the indoor scenes so dimly lit, giving it an air of melodrama, enough of which was already in the script.
But the really big downer for me was, about three-quarters way through, there's an interesting twist which sheds a new perspective on all what has gone before. But, instead of just going along with this the film meanders further into increasingly unlikely plot development to the point where, for me, all credibility finally snapped. It became almost risible whereas, truth to tell, up to that point it had been pretty good - and the aforementioned 'twist' was a promising and intriguing one - though for some reason the scriptwriter thought that that wasn't sufficient even though it had been.
It's a film of miscalculation and missed opportunity. As I say, 75% of it is worth watching but I do think that the last half hour or so devalues what we'd seen up to that point.
Overall, then, for 'curiosity value' it earns from me a.......5.5