Goodbye, Lover

on August 01, 2008 by Lael Loewenstein
A stylistic departure for Roland Joffe, this comic noir thriller has the elements of a hit-an attractive marquee cast, a glossy look, a tantalizing plot-if Warner can successfully exploit those qualities instead of repeating its disappointing marketing campaign for the studio's last neo-noir, "L.A. Confidential."
   Sexy, predatory femme fatale Sandra (Patricia Arquette), married to Jake (Dermot Mulroney), is sleeping with his brother Ben (Don Johnson). But guilt-ridden Ben wants to end that affair so he can date his innocent co-worker Peggy (Mary-Louise Parker.) When he tells Sandra it's over, she threatens to kill him. Instead, she tells Jake, who subsequently flies into a vicious rage and kills Ben in a struggle that is later ruled accidental death.
   But things are not as they seem in this film. Part of its appeal is that Joffe only reveals select details, gradually unveiling more and more of the intricate plot as the action unfolds. Characters are double- and then triple-crossed, and just when you think you've got it figured out, writers Ron Peer, Joel Cohen and Alec Sokolow throw in a curve ball. Tension is well maintained throughout, thanks to fine acting (especially Arquette, deliciously evil in the lead), music (John Ottman's score recalls Bernard Herrman's work for Hitchcock) and cinematography. Dante Spinotte's camerawork and lighting is more jagged and unpredictable than it was in "L.A. Confidential," but equally fine. The writers add a comic underpinning through the banter of Ellen DeGeneres as a cynical detective and Ray McKinnand as her naive Mormon partner. It doesn't all work: Sometimes the laughs feel labored, and the crimes campishly grisly, but for the most part, "Goodbye, Lover" is an entertaining neo-noir and an effective updating of the genre. Starring Patricia Arquette and Dermot Mulroney. Written by Ron Peer, Joel Cohen and Alec Sokolow. Directed by Roland Joffe. A Warner release. Thriller. Rated R for sexuality, language and violence. Running time: 102 min.
Tags: No Tags

read all Reviews »


No comments were posted.

What do you think?