Separate Lies Julian Fellowes

You could do worse than watch this posh British quasi-thriller, which trades on the quality image while simultaneously blackening its name. Tom Wilkinson leads as a supercilious barrister with a tense home life; his wife (Emily Watson) is the object of his condescension and she's not at all comfortable as his target. Still, he's not prepared to discover a) that his wife has been involved in a hit-and-run accident, and b) that the passenger in the car was her laissez-faire lover (Rupert Everett). Thus a plot is hatched to keep the crime a secret and Watson out of jail. To an extent, the movie is a too-easy satire of the perfect British life, with some easy irony about what lies beneath the surface and blah, blah, blah. But it doesn't act as if its information is a crime against England; instead, it revels wickedly in the delicious indiscretions, almost as if gossiping about a neighbour's misfortune. It's not exactly nice, but there you are; it's an excuse to rubberneck at death and adultery in the same movie. There are times the movie bogs down in its machinations, becoming tedious when dragging out the desperate attempts to hide Watson's involvement, but though Everett is a smug non-presence, the central couple has an interesting relationship and real chemistry. None of this is earth-shattering art, and you shouldn't terribly inconvenience yourself to see it. But it's genuinely entertaining without resorting to appeals to classiness, and if you should stumble across it your discovery will reap real dividends. The package includes a commentary by director Julian Fellowes, who proves to be bright, excitable and genuinely entertaining. (Fox)