Published Mar 13, 2007By now, everybody should have had enough of tender dramas about the damaged bourgeois feeling all broken up about the underclass. But the category of "everybody seems to exclude Anthony Minghella, whos just done another of these needless and facile hand wringers to no discernable end.
Jude Law plays the lead, an architect whose firm (unwisely located in the sleazy Kings Cross section of London) is the subject of frequent break-ins. It doesnt help that hes having problems with partner Robin Wright Penn and their (I think) autistic daughter but of course, the whole thing blows up when he tracks one of the young Serbian Muslim perps back home and then starts an affair with his mother (Juliette Binoche).
If you thought American Beauty was the epitome of film art, this might do the trick for you here are more speeches about being misunderstood, more affluent guilt and rebellion, and the added bonus of damaged ex-Sarajevans to whose problems we can condescend. None of the "poor and downtrodden scenes will be tolerated by anyone in hailing distance of a Dardenne Brothers movie though; this movie is a high school social studies class next to the masters graduate seminars in poverty.
True, Vera Farmiga and The Offices Martin Freeman shine as a prostitute and Laws second-in-command, respectively; they manage to evoke inner life and nuance beyond what their sketchy roles suggest. But in the end, the movie is cheesy liberal self-congratulation masquerading as social conscience, and it wont satisfy anyone whos looking for something substantial.
Still, fans of cinema illogic wont want to miss the penultimate scene, which clears up Laws open relationship with Penn in record time.