Separate Lies

Cast: Tom Wilkinson, Emily Watson, Rupert Everett
Director: Julian Fellowes
Certificate: Cert 15, 85 mins,

Julian Fellowes (of Gosford Park fame) has come up with a whodunit here about a wealthy but largely unerringly mannered solicitor James Manning (Tom Wilkinson, also to be seen in The Exorcism of Emily Rose), whose young wife (Watson) is having it off with local fop William Bule (Rupert Everett). Of course this state of married ‘bliss’ where secrets are the order of the day is sure to implode some time and what really puts it under pressure is a car accident involving Bule’s car. Only the person driving the car and implicated in the incident is not Bule … but someone he knows well but illicitly and from there the lies really start.

Fellowes’s film, based on ‘A way through the wood’ by Nigel Balchin, says a great deal about well-to-do people keeping up appearances, the types that like to hide things under the carpet if they possibly can rather than go through that awful process of having to face the music. It’s well acted particularly by Tom Wilkinson whose brooding performance in In the Bedroom is matched here by a performance of power and quiet suppression. He gets able support from Watson and Everett as the conniving bedfellows.

It should pick up interest at the box office – this is one of those dramas we do well – where behind closed doors of well-to-do houses, there’s all kind of things going on. I can quite imagine why Fellowes with a wicked sense of humour would want to explore that and he picks a good cast to make the most of it.

Matt Arnoldi

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