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Third Person


Stars: Liam Neeson, Adrien Brody, Olivia Wilde, Mila Kunis, Maria Bello, James Franco, Kim Basinger, Moran Atias, Michele Melaga, Oliver Crouch, Caroline Goodall, David Harewood

Director: Paul Haggis

Haggis, who made the deservedly Oscar-winning Crash, has proved himself adept at weaving multiple storylines together. This is, at least ostensibly, another example, but in this case the director's ambitions have overreached themselves.

Author Michael (Neeson), at work in Paris, is struggling both with his latest novel and his mistress (Wilde), who keeps getting increasingly urgent messages from another man.

In Italy, businessman Scott (Brody), who bribes others in order to steal clothing designs, becomes involved with Monika (Atias), who says she needs money to retrieve her daughter from a man who may be gangster, pimp or ex-boyfriend. Poor Scott finds himself increasingly upping the ransom ante to help her.

Then there's mentally fragile Julia (Kunis), desperate to regain visitation rights to her son from her ex-husband (Franco).

You shouldn't worry as to whether the stories interlock, because that's not the idea; the theme is actually the pain of a lost child. But the extended treatment renders the watching of it so boring that we care little as to whether we unlock the key to the puzzle as the film drags on and on.

It's doubtful in any case as to whether most audiences will 'get' this ambitious misfire.

David Quinlan

USA 2012. UK Distributor: Sony (Sony Pictures Classics). Technicolor.
138 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 1, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 1.

Review date: 10 Nov 2014