the Truth Lies
by Donald Melanson
13 , 2006
| Based on the novel of the same name by Rupert Holmes,
Atom Egoyan’s Where the Truth Lies centers on a showbiz
duo loosely inspired by Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis (played by
Colin Firth and Kevin Bacon), and two key periods in their lives,
which are interwoven throughout the film. The first takes place
during their heyday in 1957, when a mysterious incident happened
that left a young woman dead in their hotel room. The second
in 1972, after the duo has split up and a young reporter (Alison
Lohman) is working on a book about them.
Like the double entendre of the film’s title, however, nothing
is quite what it seems. One inspired choice is the use of two
narrators: Lohman’s character, Karen O’Conner, and Kevin Bacon’s,
Lanny Morris, who happens to be writing a book of his own about
him and his partner. Neither one knows the full story of what
happened, leaving us to figure out what is actually true and what
each simply thinks is true.
Egoyan handles this and the films other intricacies masterfully,
crafting a film that’s as involving as it is intelligent. It can
also fairly be called the director's most "mainstream"
film. But, like the best of the classic film noir movies that
inform it, Where the Truth Lies uses a seemingly accessible
genre as a means to tackle some much more difficult ideas -- and
in that sense, it fits in quite neatly with Egoyan's other films.
Sony Pictures’s recently released DVD is unfortunately a bit
of a disappointment, especially compared to the great editions
that some of Egoyan’s other movies have received. The picture
and sound are great, as you would expect, but the extra features
are decidedly lacking. In addition to a selection of trailers
for Sony DVDs (but none for Where the Truth Lies itself)
we get a five-minute featurette on the making of the film, which
is actually just a montage of various behind-the-scenes footage,
and a selection of deleted scenes, including one with a piece
of dialogue that likely would have gotten a big audience reaction
but was probably wisely cut.
I would have especially liked to see a commentary by Egoyan,
who’s done some insightful ones for his other films. But I’m guessing
the poor box-office and lack of critical recognition put an end
to any consideration of that. Nevertheless, I highly recommend
it based on the quality of the film, and the fact that it seems
unlikely we‘ll get a more extensive special edition anytime soon.
Be sure to double check the case before you buy or rent it though,
as Sony has also deemed it necessary to release an edited R-rated
version of the DVD.
Donald Melanson is the
editor-in-chief of Mindjack and a freelance writer and journalist.
In addition to Mindjack, his work has appeared in The
Globe & Mail, Engadget,
and MovieMaker Magazine,
among other publications.