The Other Man

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Everything about the old married couple at the center of Richard Eyre’s melodrama suggests a healthy relationship; software mogul Peter (Neeson) even accompanies his shoe-designer wife, Lisa (Linney), to her fashion shows. Then the missus suddenly goes MIA, and her husband finds compromising photos of her involving a Spaniard (Banderas) living in Lake Como. Enraged, the spurned spouse starts asking about where he can buy guns. (Given the actor’s turns in the tit-for-tat thriller Taken and the recent IRA-revenge drama Five Minutes of Heaven, this seems to be the year of Neeson-related payback.) But once he arrives in Italy, Peter ingratiates himself with Lisa’s Latin lover by playing chess with him in a café; the games tend to end with the obvious metaphor of a sacrificed queen.

While we wait for the inevitable showdown, the film treats us to several surprising plot twists, but shock value can’t distract from the fact that Eyre and his actors are fighting a losing battle. Everything from the script to the film’s score seems stock, and echoes of past victories—Eyre’s dissection of infidelity in Notes on a Scandal, Neeson and Linney’s chemistry in Kinsey—only remind you of what these talents are capable of when the stars actually align.

Release details

Rated: R
Release date: Friday September 18 2009
Duration: 90 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Richard Eyre
Cast: Liam Neeson
Antonio Banderas
Laura Linney
Romola Garai
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