Love, Betrayal And Loss. Feb 17, 2011
This is a thought-provoking film, with a plot that takes the viewer to surprising places towards the end. It is the story of Peter (Liam Neeson) and Lisa (Laura Linney), happily married apparently, he Head of a software company, she a successful designer of shoes. They have one daughter, Abigail (Romola Garai), living with her partner George (Craig Parkinson). Through her work, Lisa takes constant trips to Milan, and in his wife's absence, Peter hacks into her computer, (growing suspicious of his wife's fidelity), finding a file marked "Love" opening up evidence of a sexual affair with a man called Ralph (Antonio Banderas). Peter inveigles an employee to find the address of this man, and upon arriving in Milan, he strikes up a friendship with Ralph while probing him about his relationship with the beautiful woman who designs shoes.
Up until now, the film is, it would seem, predictable, but halfway through, the plot takes many unexpected turns and I defy any viewer to guess the exact ending. This makes the film exciting and interesting. Peter in the end, calls Ralph a dreadful man but somehow rather wonderful, echoing his own ambivalence about his daughter's partner George and his ultimate acceptance of him.
There is glamour in this film, in part because of the luscious scenery of Milan and Lake Como, and the seemingly cosmopolitan life that Ralph inhabits. But the glamour is also because of the plot and the triumvirate of the main actors brought together for this film. Neeson looks suitably careworn and tortured, Banderas positively a Beau Brummell in his immaculate suit and tie with just that whiff of sleaziness to add to the complexity of his character, and Linney's beauty is given its full rein here with her luminous looks, beautiful clothes and those red shoes.
It is nearly impossible not to be moved by this film which surely will demand a second viewing.