8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Twisted Triangle of Deception Smartly Rendered Even When It Spins Around Credibility,
Once again proving to be one of our most audacious actors, Peter Sarsgaard brings a fearlessly fey quality to Robert that allows his character to harden as the encroaching deceptions envelop him. Looking very much the part of the patrician, artistically frustrated Hollywood wife, Patricia Clarkson gives her typically sharp, insightful performance as Elaine especially as her efforts to manipulate Robert backfire into her own unfolding, painful situation. What she does very well is show the vulnerability of her character regardless of her misogynistic intentions. With his stentorian voice used in an ideal context, Campbell Scott finally shows some of the fire of his late parents (George C. Scott and Colleen Dewhurst) in exposing the deviously powerful character of Jeffrey ultimately rendered powerless by the circumstances.
Although the movie takes advantage of Los Angeles locations, including a stunning hilltop home (complete with infinity pool, of course), it still feels very much like a play especially in Lucas's use of talking headshots and voiceovers to amplify the ennui of the chat room activity. Where the film goes somewhat awry is the series of developments in the last half-hour that lead to the ending where Robert's sense of paranoia brings certain facts to light and responses become increasingly contrived. Regardless, Lucas's gift for smart dialogue and the three performances lend credence to the wildly implausible developments. With the hoopla over the wondrous "Brokeback Mountain" (which I just saw), it will be interesting to see if Jeffrey's mercenary comments about the box-office poison of gay-themed films will remain true.