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Where Truth Lies

cast: John Savage, Candice Dale, Kim Cattrall, Malcolm McDowell, and Eric Pierpoint

director: William H. Molina

100 minutes (18) 1998
MIA DVD Region 2 retail

RATING: 2/10
reviewed by Paul Broome
Clever title, yes? No? Well, it's as clever as things get around here, I'm afraid. John Savage stars as psychologist Dr Ian Lazarre, suffering his own emotional nightmare - still haunted by the accidental death of his first wife, wallowing in a pit of alcoholic self-loathing, and (unsurprisingly) newly separated from his second wife. After a violent destructive outburst (and some minor office redecoration) his estranged wife and 'best buddy' manage to talk him into checking himself into the care of Dr Vernon Renquist (Malcolm McDowell), a man with radical new techniques for the treatment of substance abuse and emotional breakdowns.
   After being greeted at the 'sanatorium' by his personal staff nurse Racquel (Kim Cattrall) - who actually isn't a proper nurse at all, we soon learn, and requisite security muscle (provided here by Flash Gordon himself, Sam J. Jones), he is led to his 'room', pumped full of an unidentified drug and observed over CCTV by the mysterious McDowell. From here on in we are treated to slowly evolving flashbacks of his first wife's death (which is 'where the truth lies'...), candid nurse-patient fantasies (with Cattrall supplying her requisite topless scene), and lots of scenes of a straining Savage thrashing around on his bed to the strains of classical music.
   Once upon a time the presence of Malcolm McDowell would at least guarantee you some signs of quality. But after the likes of Tank Girl, that is no longer the case (indeed it makes you wonder if he now actually pre-reads any scripts, or just jumps at every job offered to him!). Cattrall plays the usual slutty vixen, a role that she has down pat, and as such at least she is watchable (that's where the 'two out of ten' comes from, well that and the novelty of seeing Sam J. Jones again). Savage veers from sanity to slavering with little in the way of subtlety, and - strangely enough - so does the script! With so few characters it's plainly obvious where we're heading, and what the big twist is going to be (was his first wife's death really accidental?), and even the extra 'downbeat' nature of the (plainly ridiculous) climax does nothing to save things.
   This is a truly bad film, made even worse for the presence of McDowell - an actor who, at his peak, was an icon. To see him uttering the banal tosh in this film is kind of like watching John Lennon sing I Believe I Can Fly... Please, Malcolm, 'careful selection' or 'retirement': make a decision.
   DVD extras: only the ubiquitous chapter selection (use it wisely, skip to the Cattrall scenes!), and a trailer that manages to be almost as bad as the film itself...

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