Smooth talk­ers

CON­VER­SA­TIONS WITH OTHER WOMEN Di­rected by Hans Canosa. Star­ring Helena Bon­ham Carter, Aaron Eck­hart 16 cert, Cineworld, Dublin, 84 min

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - Filmreviews - MICHAEL DWYER

SPLIT screen, a de­vice that of­ten seems to be merely gim­micky, has been a sta­ple of movies since the silent era. The de­vice be­came par­tic­u­larly mod­ish in the 1960s; more re­cently, 24 has made ex­ten­sive and ef­fec­tive use of it on the small screen.

Con­ver­sa­tions with Other Women am­bi­tiously goes the dis­tance, split­ting its widescreen for­mat in two in or­der to probe and ponder the re­la­tion­ship be­tween a man and a wo­man who meet at a wed­ding re­cep­tion. He (Aaron Eck­hart) is the bride’s brother; she (Helena Bon­ham Carter) is one of her brides­maids.

When he flir­ta­tiously ap­proaches her with two glasses of cham­pagne, it seems that they are strangers to each other, but in the teas­ingly re­veal­ing screen­play, it tran­spires that they were in an emo­tion­ally charged re­la­tion­ship back in their col­lege days. We never learn the names of the pro­tag­o­nists, but we get to know them very well in­deed as lay­ers of in­for­ma­tion emerge in their con­ver­sa­tion over a long night’s jour­ney into day.

Work­ing from the premise that there are two sides to ev­ery love story, the split screen tech­nique ob­serves ev­ery scene from both points of view – and there are no oth­ers in what is es­sen­tially a two-han­der movie be­yond a few pe­riph­eral char­ac­ters in­serted for comic re­lief and flash­backs to the pro­tag­o­nists in their late teens.

The de­vice is ini­tially dis­tract­ing, but first-time di­rec­tor Hans Canosa, who also edited the movie, has planned ev­ery shot and cut so care­fully that we grad­u­ally re­lax as the movie taps into our voyeuris­tic na­ture.

Gabrielle Zevin’s witty, barbed and un­ex­pect­edly touch­ing script con­tains a few im­plau­si­ble el­e­ments, and some of the di­a­logue feels con­trived, but the ac­tors wear their roles like the snuggest-fit­ting gloves, in­hab­it­ing their char­ac­ters with flair and con­vic­tion.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Ireland

© PressReader. All rights reserved.