Chromophobia (15)

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The Independent Culture

Mind you, if it's wasted talent you're interested in, take a gander at this excruciating attempt at social satire: Damien Lewis plays a rich city lawyer, with a neurotic, shopaholic wife (Kristin Scott Thomas), who gets drawn into a corrupt bit of business involving a New Labour peer.

Subsidiary characters include their young son's gay art-historian godfather (Ralph Fiennes), who may or may not have paedophile tendencies, Lewis's stepmother (Harriet Walter) and High Court judge dad (Ian Holm), and, at the other end of the social scale, a cancer-riddled prostitute (Penelope Cruz) and her frankly implausibly under-employed social worker (Rhys Ifans).

The suspicion grows that Fiennes regards this as a rich panorama of human experience (can we deduce the scale of her delusions from a closing reference to War and Peace?), having failed to notice how clichd and contrived the entire thing is. Its selection as the closing film at last year's Cannes Festival counts as a major national embarrassment.

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