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Sunday, June 8, 2008


You know this story of infidelity, murder and miscarried justice comes from a literary novel because the lead, a writer manque (natch), gets to screw everything in sight. Five partners in multiple encounters of a varying graphic nature. Gives a whole new meaning to penmanship. Set with over-determined grimness on a coal barge in the late ‘40s, Ewan McGregor has an affair with the boss’s wife (a drab Tilda Swinton) while also shagging his ex. When the ex accidentally drowns, McGregor watches from the sidelines as an innocent man takes the blame, getting in a few new conquests while waiting for the verdict. Megger David Mackenzie isn’t able to keep the narrative clear enough to generate much tension (is he following the non-linear time continuity from the novel?) so he ladles on the dreary texture of lower-class British sludge like a chef covering up a spoiled entree with gravy.

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