That the film which closed Cannes in 2005 is only now getting a release should be warning enough. After her promising début ‘Onegin’, this represents a steep learning curve for Martha Fiennes, an all-star white elephant which so wants to be a biting portrait of contemporary… something or other. It starts as satire on the filthy rich, with lawyer Damian Lewis promoted beyond his talents, his high-maintenance spouse Kristin Scott-Thomas easing existential anxiety with retail therapy, and her art curator pal Ralph Fiennes facing Hackney boy-teen temptation. The criss-crossing plot contrives to install everyone in their private hells, by which point we’re supposed to care about them, and weep for terminally stricken prostitute Penélope Cruz, whom the camera has thus far regarded with the sort of schmaltzy hauteur usually reserved for animal charity campaigns. Quite how this segues into a grand finale defining bathos to the strains of Beethoven almost beggars description, but failed seriousness to this degree of screaming awfulness is choice indeed – unfortunately, for all the wrong reasons.
Cast and crew
Kristin Scott Thomas