Dimly lit shots of agonised glaring are daisy-chained together with plenty of ‘now listen carefully’ exposition in this workaday psychological thriller which, although decently crafted, lacks even a scintilla of subtlety or ambition. Writer-director Richard Bracewell, who showed great pluck with his lively, London-set docu-drama ‘The Gigolos’ (2006), again has trouble marrying form and content, getting distinctive, nicely textured performances from his ensemble cast but putting them in the service of some high-concept, low-grade hokum about one woman’s descent into (mild) paranoiac frenzy when she starts hearing strange voices that possibly aren’t there. Suffice to say, ‘The Conversation’ this ain’t.
Laura Fraser plays an assistant cardiologist whose goggle-eyed creep of a boss (Richard E Grant, who may as well have ‘I’m Mad, Me!’ emblazoned on his lab coat) takes strange, frankly preposterous measures to eavesdrop on her messy private life. It’s not particularly exciting or original, especially as it’s never made quite clear what all the fuss is about. But that doesn’t prevent the always-wonderful Tamsin Grieg from stealing the film as she deadpans her way through a spurious supporting role.