Stars: ** 1/2
Rating: R for language and sexual references
Run Time: 1 hour, 27 minutes
scribe Julian Fellowes (“
A tragic hit-and-run accident shatters the calm of the Mannings’ peaceful village existence. That coupled with the arrival of playboy cum cricketer Bill Bule (Rupert Everett) blows fissures in their elegant but fragile union. Fingers are pointed and pasts are concealed in an effort to maintain the glossy sheen of a picturesque deceit.
With scriptural finesse Fellowes illustrates the passionate duplicity of a scandalous extramarital affair and the slow disintegration of an ostensibly happy marriage, set to a chronologically jumpy beat.
was cunning and sexy in this year’s underrated “Asylum” doesn’t cut it
Both Watson and Wilkinson work wonders with Fellowes’ clever words and fluent mannerisms. Watson’s addled Anne falls into her dirty affair for genuinely observed reasons: she can’t live up to James’ impossibly high standards. Wilkinson is consistently marvelous as a proud cuckold who helplessly watches his world crumble around him.
Fellowes gets an A for effort and marvelous scripting but his directorial debut is ultimately an ample exercise in frustration.