Poor old Harry (Chris Cooper) is a nice man propelled to do amazingly stupid things. By contrast, the vapid Richard (Pierce Brosnan) is simply a bachelor dandy and doesn’t hesitate to move in when introduced to Harry’s mistress Kay (Rachel McAdams). While Richard is scheming, Harry is plotting. Convinced that his loyal wife Pat (Patricia Clarkson) will be destroyed by their breakup, he lights upon the idea of killing her.
It’s one of life’s little ironies that films about life’s little ironies are dull. Rachel McAdams is absolutely valiant in her attempt to shine in her role, and almost succeeds. The writing is too insubstantial to give her anything to really sink her teeth into, but her effort is palpable. Chris Cooper gives an amazing performance that manages to keep you on his side, even though his intended victim Patricia Clarkson is gorgeous as Pat, wife, mother- ingénue?
Set in 1949, the film is visually perfect. It’s just lacking in drama, and feels uneven. Maybe it’s all a big metaphor. Just as the characters want something to happen in their lives, you want something to happen in the film. Maybe. I don’t think it’s being that smart though. It just feels as though all the interesting kinks have been ironed out. It’s a nice looking example of style over substance, and won’t lose anything by being watched on the small screen.