List Film

The Other Man (2 stars)

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The Other Man

(15) 84 min (Metrodome)

Whatever Richard Eyre’s importance as a theatre director, working on plays by Hare, Griffith and Brenton, his recent cinema work (Iris, Notes on a Scandal) has sometimes struggled for significance. This adaptation of Bernhard The Reader Schlink’s short story is a mess. The story promptly grounds us in the immediate grief of a husband (Liam Neeson) losing his wife (Laura Linney) to cancer, Eyre’s film offers tricksy editing at the beginning but a subsequent story switch makes the inciting incident – a letter received through the post which becomes a note left in a shoe – all the more implausible.

As the daughter casually mentions it to her father as they’re clearing out the late wife’s stuff, we’re left asking too many questions of basic human behaviour. Eyre is hardly offering subtle psychological probes; his changes are needless plot devices. It doesn’t get any better when Antonio Banderas turns up as the other man. Minimal extras.

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