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Other Voices Other Rooms Review

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A boy attempts to unravel the mystery surrounding his father's disappearance.

★★★★

This adaptation of Truman Capote's celebrated first novel heralds another trip into the bizarre world of America's Deep South. But while the source material is steamy and the scenery lush, the movie, director Rocksavage's first, is both over-indulgent and ultimately disappointing. Thirteen-year-old Joel Sansom (Speck) is sent to meet the father who abandoned him when he was a baby. On arriving, he is met by the owner of the house Amy (Thomson) and her eccentric cousin Randolph (Bluteau) but his father is nowhere to be seen. Dark family secrets are at work, but somewhere in the mix, Rocksavage forgets one of the primary rules of movies - maintaining a sense of drama.

Consequently, the action unfolds so slowly that by the time the shock denouement arrives, the audience neither realises nor cares.It's not helped by an array of dud performances, with the portentous yet strangely empty dialogue sliding far too harshly off the actors' tongues. Despite his inexperience, it's astonishing how a first-time filmmaker like Rocksavage, obviously making a story he is fond of, can let his leading characters be this bad. Casting Canadian Bluteau as a Southern dandy is one thing, but letting him be so over the top and get away with such an appalling accent is beyond reproach.

The only thing carried off with any aplomb is the photography of the exotic landscape by cinematographer Paul Ryan, who cut his teeth on Terrence Malick's ethereal Days Of Heaven. But the odd attractive image is not enough to sustain the interest and this film feels like a six hour mini-series rolled into one epsiode. Capote would not be pleased.