| The institution of marriage is put to the test in this sophisticated film for grown-ups.
Respectable, well-to-do executive Harry Allen (Kansas City native Chris Cooper from “The Kingdom”) plots the murder of his red-headed wife Pat (Patricia Clarkson from “The Station Agent”) instead of going through a divorce.
He confides in his best friend Richard Langley (Pierce Brosnan) and introduces him to the love-of-his-life Kay (Rachel McAdams from “The Notebook”). Richard serves as our all-knowing narrator and his sly voiceover commentary spices things up.
This movie is set in 1949, when sex is taboo for an unmarried woman and the stigma of divorce is devastating.
Director and co-screenwriter Ira Sachs blends dark humor, intriguing suspense, passionate romance and soap-opera melodrama in this adaptation of John Bingham’s pulp novel “Five Roundabouts to Heaven.”
The movie pays homage to the films of Alfred Hitchcock and Douglas Sirk.
The script is full of surprises, deceptions, betrayals and double-crosses. All the characters are polite and civil to one another with social etiquette and manners beyond reproach. They all have hidden agendas and ulterior motives.
The meticulous period details include the clothing, cars, televisions, appliances and an old-fashioned movie theater. The ensemble acting is top drawer. University of Missouri grad Cooper does the Show Me state proud. He is the glue holding this production together.
Clarkson, a consummate pro, gives an Oscar-worthy performance in every film. This portrayal of the devoted, loving wife who stands by her man through thick and thin is no exception.
The soundtrack provides a graceful touch of class combining big band music with classic love songs.
Keith Cohen, The Movie Guy