With Where the Truth Lies Canadian film director Atom Egoyan (The Sweet Hereafter, Speaking Parts, Exotica) writes and directs his first big budget made in Canada but Hollywood studio style movie.

Kevin Bacon gives an excellent performance as comic Lanny Morris while adding a few people to his six degrees of separation game and Alison Lohan to the number of starlets he has shared a sex scene with. Colin Firth is very good as Vince Collins, the British partner in Morris and Collins (any resemblance to Martin and Lewis is in people’s minds), a famous comedy duo from the fifties whose career was handicapped by their being tied to the mysterious death of a young Florida chambermaid, Maureen O’Flaherty.

Where The Truth Lies features a very complicated plot. Journalist Karen O’Connor (Alison Lohan in a capable performance) offers Vince Collins a million dollar book deal to tell what happened in Florida fifteen years ago. Karen O’Connor is also the young girl who appeared on the polio telethon Morris and Collins were doing the night of the suspicious death. She also usurps her best friend’s identity when she happens to be sitting next to Morris on a first class flight. To add to the complications, Maureen O’Flaherty’s body is found a day later in New Jersey in the hotel suite a local mobster set aside for Morris and Collins when they are scheduled to open his new showroom the day after the polio telethon. Who killed Maureen O’Flaherty and what happened to the comedy duo of Morris and Collins is the basic plot of Where The Truth Lies.

Most mystery fans do not mind a complicated plot. It is part of the fun. But when the movie with the complicated mystery story is as complicated to follow as the plot itself this can become a bit too much. Egoyan seems unable to follow a straight narrative line in Where The Truth Lies and, to add to the complexity, enjoys having both Alison Lohan and Kevin Bacon do a lot of narrative voice-overs as the story progresses. The many flashbacks between the late fifties, when the mysterious death happened, and the early seventies, when the journalist is doing the story, are not really the problem here. It is that there are back and forth time shifts in the flashbacks and in the real time events.

Then, just when you figure might as well give this movie a chance considering the time you’ve already invested, Egoyan has a scene where O’Connor just happens to run into Reuben, Morris’ long time butler, procurer, and cleanup man, at the grocery store and this faithful employee is just dying to confess what a terrible man Morris really is. This is immediately after she has a Medium style flash that seems to reveal how the body was moved to Jersey. This is all a bit too much for even the most generous mystery DVD fan and this is a shame because, in the end, Where The Truth Lies is a pretty decent thriller and Egoyan does have fun shooting Alison Lohan, the actress playing Maureen Oflaherty, and a character named Alice in a way where they tend to look very much alike sometimes which hits at some kind of subtext.

The erotic thriller tag on Where The Truth Lies is certainly not where the truth lies in this movie. Yes, there are a couple of sex scenes but they are certainly not erotic and more gratuitous than the many plot coincidences here. By the way, Egoyan fans will spot Arsinee Khanjian as one of the publishers at the meeting.

Where the Truth Lies
Kevin Bacon, Alison Lohman, Colin Firth, Maury Chaykin
Written and directed by Atom Egoyan
Based on the novel by Rupert Holmes
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment 2006
107 minutes

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