Savage Grace (15)

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The Independent Culture

Kalin is still best known for his 1992 film Swoon, a take on the Leopold and Loeb case of the 1920s (wealthy gay students commit "the perfect murder" for kicks).

Here, again, he has picked on a true story that combines sex, class and murder: this time, the corpse is Barbara Baekeland, wife of the heir to the Bakelite fortune, who was murdered by her son Tony in Chelsea in 1972 – on this telling, shortly after they'd enjoyed an Oedipal romp on the sofa.

The cast is excellent – Julianne Moore as the bitchy, insecure Barbara; Stephen Dillane as her dilettante bastard of a husband; Eddie Redmayne as the bisexual, schizophrenic son (a very similar role to his put-upon son of a CIA man in De Niro's The Good Shepherd) – but it's hard to see what they're all doing there.

Though the film comes over all important and profound, at bottom Kalin just seems to be drooling over the idea of rich people screwing each other. He coasts along on the assumption that sex, class and murder are all the plot and motivation an audience needs, and he's dead wrong.