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Things We Lost in the Fire


Stars: Halle Berry, Benicio Del Toro, David Duchovny, Alison Lohman, Alexis Llewellyn, John Carroll Lynch

Director: Susanne Bier

A showcase for Berry and Del Toro, who are both on the mark with their characters, this is otherwise a trite and slow story about getting lives back on track, redeemed in part by the performances. Duchovny, as a deglamorised Berry's husband, shot dead when he tries to stop a man beating his wife in the street, Lynch as Berry's henpecked neighbour, and especially Llewellyn as her vulnerable 10-year-old daughter all offer telling and convincing portrayals of three-dimensional characters.

Del Toro plays Duchovny's best friend from schooldays, a lawyer turned dishevelled, unshaven junkie, who turns up at the funeral and moves into Berry's home (at her invite), going to Narcotics Anonymous and prompting our thoughts of his slipping into Duchovny's shoes.

That, as life, doesn't quite work the way we might expect, even if the director teases us with the possible outcome. With better pacing and dialogue, in fact, this might touch our emotions and become a film to reckon with. Fans of the stars will probably like it.

David Quinlan

USA 2007. UK Distributor: Paramount (DreamWorks). Colour by deluxe.
118 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 1, Drugs 1, Swearing 2.

Review date: 27 Jan 2008