The director Mike Figgis (‘Leaving Las Vegas’) recently wrote an angry piece in The Guardian complaining about being sidelined by the UK film industry. His new film, ‘Suspension of Disbelief’, won’t help matters. It’s a plucky attempt at what you might call a meta-thriller, the story of a London screenwriter (Sebastian Koch) who gets mixed up in the death of a beautiful young woman (Lotte Verbeek). Meanwhile his own daughter (Rebecca Night), also young and beautiful, stars in a film written by him with a suspicious plot. All of which dredges up memories of the disappearance 15 years ago of his own wife (Emilia Fox), who – you guessed it – was a beautiful young woman.
Even the investigating detective (Kenneth Cranham) has written a script. And if there’s an attractive energy and style to the directing, it’s all very studenty and dated. Scenes in which Koch’s character teaches film students are excruciating. You sense that Figgis, with his film’s jazzy score, onscreen notes and chapter headings, choppy storytelling style and teasing use of genre, is riffing on the 1960s films of his hero Jean-Luc Godard, but it all feels very strained and awkward. The prettiness of his young cast and late-on lesbian snogs don’t help.
Cast and crew