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While her politician husband (Cary Elwes) and precocious teenage daughter are away, New Orleans psychiatrist Veronica Simon (Academy Award® winner* Mira Sorvino) enjoys a weekend fling with Victor (Christopher Backus), an alluring young sculptor. But after Veronica calls off the affair, Victor refuses to let go and will stop at nothing to have Veronica for himself. Just how far will Victor go to get what he wants, and is there anything Veronica can do to stop his mad obsession before it destroys her family?
From filmmaking team Laura Boersma and John Stewart Muller comes this steamy and stylish psychological thriller, in which a woman pushed to the edge finds she must fight for what's truly important to her... or lose it all trying.
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For all of its brief merits, 2016’s INDISCRETION really never rises to the challenge (double entendre intended), but thankfully it’s striking averageness never risks offending the audiences’ sensibilities as there’s not so much as a bared boob in here.
(NOTE: The following review will contain minor spoilers necessary solely for the discussion of plot and/or characters. If you’re the type of reader who prefers a review entirely spoiler-free, then I’d encourage you to skip down to the last three paragraphs for my final assessment. If, however, you’re accepting of a few modest hints at ‘things to come,’ then read on …)
From the product packaging:
“While her politician husband (Cary Elwes) and precocious teenage daughter are away, New Orleans psychiatrist Veronica Simon (Mira Sorvino) enjoys a weekend fling with Victor (Christopher Backus), an alluring young sculptor. But after Veronica calls off the affair, Victor refuses to let go and will stop at nothing to have Veronica for himself …”
There’s a bit more, but that’s really all one needs to know about Indiscretion, an unrated thriller written (in part) and directed by John Stewart Muller. And – a bit to my surprise – “unrated” here doesn’t mean what it does in the realm of most motion pictures as there’s not nudity whatsoever, along with (ahem) sex scenes that are astonishingly uninventive and (dare I say?) routine. In fact, I’m not quite so sure why Veronica would have fallen for Victor in this context as the young man clearly has nothing to offer her by way of any legitimate relationship … I suspect that may’ve been the appeal.
In that case, wouldn’t a bit of chemistry and/or charisma have been a nice touch anyway?
Muller’s feature lacks the required chemistry to make the set-up entirely believable (much less acceptable), but everyone seems to be coasting on autopilot here as the potboiler never rises to the point of boiling. So much of this ‘Indiscretion’ feels like a bloated TV movie – the kind you can probably find every other weekend on any regular channel, since there’s no T’n’A in here – so in order to attempt to salvage the audience from this mess Muller and co-writer Laura Boersma hold back a last scene reveal until – well – the last scene. You know the kind? You can’t talk about it without spoiling the ending … but I’ll simply leave it at this: there’s far too much ‘contrivance’ to this entire affair for the twist to even really be plausible much less interesting.
As a production, Indiscretion has some problems with continuity: the relationship’s opening sequence follows Veronica and Victor to a handful of locations, all the while Ms. Sorvino’s attire kinda/sorta changing like she stopped at home to throw on a different blouse before hitting the next scene. (???) That and the fact that whoever came up with costuming for Sorvino apparently insisted on dressing her as one of the least appropriate child psychiatrists in the history of the business. Really? Those are pretty close to cocktail dresses there, and you’re wearing that to meet troubled children?
Also, there’s this little problem: in order to accept Veronica’s situation sexually as it is at the onset, the audience is asked to suspend disbelief about whether or not fictional hubby Elwes would’ve found her attractive. The only glimpse at the sex life posits Sorvino coming to bed looking very much like a Victoria Secret’s lingerie model … and I’m expected to belief her hubby wouldn’t want to be getting jiggy with this?! Sorry, but I call “shenanigans.” That and the fact that Victor looks like Blake Shelton’s grungy brother just made so much of this untenable.
(MILDLY) RECOMMENDED. Heck, it used to be that one could expect a steamy adult thriller to ratchet up a certain amount of heat on the silver screen, but gone are the days of The Postman Always Rings Twice (1981) and Body Heat (1981); in its place we’re left with stuff like Indiscretion, a veritable ‘AfterSchool Special’ geared at mature viewers but giving us nothing that makes maturity requisite. Mira Sorvino is essentially wasted – as is the always watchable Cary Elwes – in this kinda/sorta popcorn flick of carelessness gone wrong … or did it? You can always bank on screenwriters to wrench out some last-minute twist to try and give even the most predictable yarn a bit more thread, but this whole thing feels so second hand you’ll probably find it at your local Goodwill store any day now.
In the interests of fairness, I’m pleased to disclose that the fine folks at MPI Media Group provided me with a DVD of INDISCRETION (2016) by request for the expressed purposes of completing this review; and their contribution to me in no way, shape, or form influenced my opinion of it.
Veronica is initially attracted to Victor at a fund raiser for her husband.He’s attentive, kind, and smart. He fills a void left by her preoccupied husband, who seems more concerned with his political future than their mutual happiness. Guilt eventually causes Veronica to break off the relationship, and she’s eager to get back to her respectable life as mother and wife of a man heading for the U.S. Senate. But Victor has fallen in love with Veronica after only two days and is obsessed. He is unwilling to let the relationship end, resorting to behavior that threatens her marriage and eventually turns violent.
“Indiscretion” is really “Fatal Attraction” will the genders reversed. Both films are about obsession and how far one will go to protect his/her family, despite past mistakes. As a psychological thriller, it gets under your skin as Victor — charming at the outset — turns out to show a darker, dangerous side. But the plot is overly familiar and we know well before Veronica that Victor is bad business. The scenes between Veronica and Victor are pretty steamy, and director John Stewart Muller amps up the thrills late in the film when Victor goes to desperate lengths to win back Veronica.
Bonus materials on the widescreen unrated DVD release include commentary with co-writer/director John Stewart Muller, co-writer/producer Laura Boersma and cinematographer Frederick Schroeder. A trailer is also included.