Disowned by director Jim Sheridan, then denied the oxygen of publicity by stars Daniel Craig and Rachel Weisz, this bastardised psychological thriller bears the scars of its troubled history. The warmly observed opening scenes, in which downsizing book publisher Will Atenton (Craig), his wife Libby (Weisz) and their two daughters luxuriate in their New England home, are a testament to Sheridan’s improvisational methods. But production company Morgan Creek’s micro-managing executives felt that Sheridan’s loose-wristed approach was ill-suited to the more generic elements of the film’s mystery plot, so they put together their own edit. The idyllic house, it transpires, was the site of a grisly triple-murder, about which cagey neighbour Ann Patterson (Naomi Watts) is reluctant to speak. As Will investigates these killings, he learns some disturbing home truths. How much remains of David Loucka’s screenplay is hard to say, but this bowdlerised cut – by tipping its hand way too early and erasing the blurred line between two levels of reality – is a well-acted but ramshackle mess.
Friday November 25 2011
Cast and crew
Elias Koteas Rachel Weisz Daniel Craig Naomi Watts