Most helpful positive review
19 of 24 people found the following review helpful
on December 13, 2009
THE OTHER MAN is a thinking person's film, a film well cast, finely acted, and well written by writer/director Richard Eyre based on a short story by master storyteller Bernhard Schlink ('The Reader', 'Flights of Love' - collection of short stories from which this story is excerpted, etc). If some viewers find the film confusing or too subtle in the unraveling of a fascinating tale, the problem is that the cast and director and writers demand more of the viewer's attention than in the usual movie fare. A suspense film should keep the viewer in the dark, or thinking in one direction, until a little twist changes the story that has been unfolding on a different level. That is what THE OTHER MAN does and it is a pleasure to be surprised in this way.
Peter (Liam Neeson) is a successful business man whose wife Lisa (Laura Linney) is a successful and high profile shoe designer. He spends much of his life in her shadow but the marriage works for them both and they obviously love each other and their young rambunctious daughter Abigail (Romola Garai) who is attached to the somewhat hippie, strange George (Craig Parkinson). Lisa's office comrades - Ralph (Patterson Joseph) and Vera (Pam Ferris) - are supportive of both Peter and Lisa and the world seems balanced. Very early in the film Lisa departs for Milan for another showing of her shoes, but she doesn't return. Peter grows suspicious when he discovers insinuating email messages from a man named Ralph, and once he discovers this Ralph is not her office comrade, he sets out on a mission to find the source of his wife' surprise infidelity. He discovers pictures taken in a special hotel in Milan, pictures that reveal photos of 'Ralph' (Antonio Banderas) in intimate situations with Lisa. Peter travels to Milan with the intent to kill Ralph, stalks him, and discovers his pastime of playing chess in a little Milanese café. And this is where Schlink and Eyre change the twist of the story, and Ralph is not at all whom he appears to be, nor is the direction of Peter's vengeance as focused as we expected. It is this crucial turn of storyline that make this film so endearing and to suggest, even slightly, the final moments of this film would destroy the suspense so well written and directed and acted.
Neeson, Linney, Banderas, and Garai are all splendid in these difficult roles - Linney continues to mature as an actress while becoming ever more beautiful in countenance. This is a tightly drawn suspense tale and well worth the attention of the public unafraid to think along with the development of the story. Grady Harp, December 09