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Separate Lies [DVD]

Tom Wilkinson , Emily Watson , Julian Fellowes    Suitable for 15 years and over   DVD
2.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
Price: 9.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Separate Lies [DVD] + A Mother's Son [DVD] [2012]
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Product details

  • Actors: Tom Wilkinson, Emily Watson, Rupert Everett, Hermione Norris, Martin Donovan
  • Directors: Julian Fellowes
  • Writers: Julian Fellowes, Nigel Balchin
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Subtitles For The Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 15
  • Studio: Twentieth Century Fox
  • DVD Release Date: 20 Mar 2006
  • Run Time: 85 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 2.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000DN6E18
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 40,904 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Reviews

Product Description

Drama based on the novel by Nigel Balchin. James Manning (Tom Wilkinson) and his wife Anne (Emily Watson) lead a seemingly idyllic happy life together until a deadly accident sets off a cascade of increasingly dangerous lies which, in turn, reveal devastating truth about who they are and what each really wants from the other.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
32 of 38 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars True Lies 20 Feb 2006
Format:DVD
My favourite movies have come from the Channel Four 'Film On Four' series of a few years ago yet somehow Sammy and Rosie Get Laid sticks in my mind here. This lovely little tale is very reminiscent of those movies of the eighties with their obsession with class in Britain yet here the focus is on the upper middle class and the aristocracy rather than the interactions of the polyocracy and working class Londoners.
The outset of the film sees a middle aged cyclist taking a moderate rate down a country lane whereupon he is hit by a speeding vehicle. There follows a tale of disintegrating lives and values which gradually engulf the characters in a web of less than pretty lies. At the heart of the story is the fragile marriage of a successful city solicitor (attorney) in London with a rural retreat provided by his not insubstantial income. His wife, good dutiful soul that she is, plays out her life as a consort to her man and abides by his rules yet yearns to be free. Her entangtlement with the son of a nearby aristocrat develops as she persues him from an initial meeting at a local cricket game but this soon involves all in the village including a former housekeeper who previously worked for his family and now for her but who is the widow of the deceased cyclist.
It is hard to understand how the solicitor goes against years of professional training to protect his wife as he gradually unfolds the infidelity and criminal neglect which he discovers about her actions and the extent to which he desires to conceal her role while at the same time takes no action against her lover. The plot slowly develops as the police become involved and seem to make little progress in their investigations as the tangled web and tissue of lies becomes evermore tangled and convuluted.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Erm great acting but lacks substance 8 Jan 2007
Format:DVD
Although Jingles has written a good review it does feel as though there review feels like they've been on a journalism course. I really felt they've read too much into the class way of things.......

This film promises a great twist but it doesn't happen, I felt very disappointed by the so called twist and thus I guess why this film has somewhat passed un-noticed.....Rupert Everett looks awful throughout......he looks ill......

If you like the actors like I do then I'd would recommend this but I did feel flat when it was all over........it gets three for the acting
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5 of 12 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Go Back To Acting, Julian 24 Jun 2008
Format:DVD
In this embarrassingly stupid film, oscar-winning screenwriter (what a joke!) Julian Fellowes supplies his actors with terrible dialogue and then proceeds to direct them with absolutely no skill or discernable talent whatsoever. It's a double whammy of incompetence. Standout scenes include a conversation between Tom Wilkinson and Emily Watson where they discuss what to have for pudding, and another insightful scene where Emily chops vegetables in an aggressive manner (lots of vital close-ups of asparagus etc). What a classic.
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Amazon.com: 3.5 out of 5 stars  40 reviews
25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Ensemble Effect 24 Feb 2006
By Grady Harp - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
Nigel Balchin's maze-like novel 'A Way Through the Wood' has been adapted by Julian Fellowes who also directs this 'terribly British' drawing room suspense piece. It is a film whose effect relies on the cast portraying the varyingly benign/malignant characters and it is here that Fellowes' directorial choices are superb. The story has a linear line that is easy to follow, but the beauty of the film is the metamorphosis of each player as a single incident ignites a minefield of disasters.

James Manning (Tom Wilkinson) is a successful business obsessed solicitor in London, married to Anne (Emily Watson) who needs more in her life: the couple being childless live in the country in a beautiful estate, assisted by their long term 'cleaner' Maggie (Linda Bassett). They attend social outings and meet, among others, William Bule (Rupert Everett), the passively lazy wealthy neighbor. Anne decides they should entertain their neighbors and against gruff James' protestation Anne proceeds with planning: James arranges to 'not attend due to business'. On the night of the party there is a hit and run accident in which Maggie's husband is accidentally killed by someone in a Range Rover (she observed). When James returns home he sees a scratch on William's Range Rover and suspects William to be the perpetrator. Anne discourages James from going to the police with the information -'what possible good can it do but ruin Bill's life as a socialite and father and son of an important scion?'. From this first 'lie' the virus spreads: James confronts Bill who talks James out of going to the police, Anne confesses it was she who was driving Bill's Rover and is the one responsible, James convinces Anne to keep it quiet because it would ruin his reputation, Anne confesses she is having an affair with Bill, and the three of them concur that they will stick together on their big lie for the sake of the greater good. Anne eventually succumbs to the guilt of not telling her beloved Maggie that she is the one responsible and Maggie, herself guilty of a previous theft whose life was saved by Anne's mercy to hire her anyway, is the agent who draws the story to its surprising conclusion. Lies begat lies that begat lies, et cetera.

The major impact of this intrigue is the manner in which the isolated tragedy impacts each of the characters involved. Each changes in a dramatic way. Tome Wilkinson gives the finest performance of a career filled with brilliant performances: he is able to say more with his posture and facial expressions than about any actor before the audience today. Likewise the gifted Emily Watson adds yet another fine role to her repertoire as does the surprisingly smarmy Rupert Everett who, despite being yet another wealthy British 'gentleman', gives us a man both arid of spirit and yet ultimately needy. And the always-fine Linda Bassett takes a small role and finesses it making her character quietly central to the chaotic web of lies.

The cinematography by Tony Pierce-Roberts and the musical score by Stanislas Syrewicz add immeasurably to the multiple atmospheres the story encounters. This is ensemble playing at its finest, which always means that the director (Julian Fellowes) has a fine grasp on the piece. The interplay of these fine people makes the dodgy story work very well indeed. Grady Harp, February 06
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars What Happened To The Plot? 27 Mar 2006
By Bucherwurm - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
This is a delightful semi-thriller that explores several themes. A tragic hit and run accident provides a test of ethics for the main three protagonists. The movie asks the question do we protect someone we love from the consequences of that person's actions? It is almost amusing to see the ethical about face of one of the cast when it is discovered that the driver is someone else than the person thought to be the guilty party. An adulterous affair complicates the plot, and the movie explores the resulting anguish of the participants.

At the beginning of this review I stated that the movie is a semi-thriller. The three main characters are involved in events that cause an increasing state of tension as the movie progresses, but I really feel that the director wasn't trying to make a thriller at all. The emotional struggles of the the trio are what's really important. One reviewer commented that the movie dragged. When I watched it I marveled at the tight editing of the movie. Many scenes seem to last only a minute or less, and none of them contain any unnecessary material.

One thing that surprised me though, is that a certain aspect of the plot simply vanishes later on in the movie. Aside from that I really felt that this was a well crafted film.
24 of 29 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Strange Bedfellows 12 Oct 2005
By MICHAEL ACUNA - Published on Amazon.com
Julian Fellowes, in his first film as director (he wrote the screenplay here and for "Gosford Park") films the beginning of "Separate Lies" as an idyllic ode to England: a Cricket match, beautiful gauzy shots of the English countryside, stately country manors, titled gentry in white cricket attire and lounging in tweeds and woolens. For all intents and purposes based on the first 10 minutes, "Separate Lies" could have been set in 1915.
But then Rupert Everett shows up as William Bule and we are thrust forward 90 years in a matter of seconds as he insinuates himself into the plot and the marriage of James and Anne Manning (a mannered and slightly off her game, Emily Watson and an excellent Tom Wilkinson...when is someone going to mount a production of "Death of a Salesman" for this guy?)
We are in the infidelity arena in "Separate Lies" and no one makes a film about infidelity like the Brits: think "Damage" with the terrific trio of Jeremy Irons, Juliette Binoche and Rupert Graves and the now almost forgotten, "Betrayal" (shamefully only available on VHS) with Irons again, Patricia Hodge and Ben Kingsley. Unfortunately, "Separate Lies" is neither up to the task nor the excellent quality of these two films.
Though the action gets more intriguing and interesting as the movie moves towards its ambiguous and ironic denouement, the film loses steam as a punctured balloon loses air and deflates and this can only be blamed on the flaccid editing.
Rupert Everett's icy, loose and entitled performance is a great foil for Wilkinson's sweaty, worried and jittery performance: their scenes together crackle with wit and fire.
The almost always excellent Watson's Anne is problematic. She doesn't seem to grasp the core of her character and her performance is at times right on and at others, not.
"Separate Lies" is a good not a great film. It starts off like gangbusters, full of life and vigor and then seems to lose its way artistically. But despite this, Fellowes nonetheless displays talent and a distinctive point of view: things that are not easy to come by among the new crop of film makers.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Complex drama with strong performances 3 1/2 stars 5 Mar 2006
By Wayne Klein - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
Opening with idyllic shots of the English countryside in a wealthy neighborhood "Separate Lies" follows the disintegration of what appears to be a perfect marriage on the surface between a London solicitor James Manning(Tom Wilkinson), his wife Anne (Emily Watson) and Bill Bule (Rupert Everett in a cool performance) a mysterious wealthy stranger just returned from New York. When a local is killed in a hit and run accident suspicions fall on Bill. Manning pursues the case and uncovers an unsavory aspect of us life when he opens the door to try and convince Bill to do the right thing.

A well made combination of character study and thriller Fellowes' film reminds me quite a bit of "Betrayal" with the emotional twists and turns the character must go through. All three main actors give terrific performances but Wilkinson's slow burn performance takes center stage. There the resemblance ends as the plot thickens ends as Manning, Anne and Bill are drawn further and further into a whirlpool of deceit. Anchored by a trio outstanding performances "Separate Lies" does what English dramas do best and Hollywood rarely can do anymore-create a drama focused on the characters and their world.

"Separate Lies" features robust, bold colors that look marvelous in this transfer. The transfer has remarkable clarity and detail with no digital or analog artifacts that I can detect. Fox has pulled out all the stops in putting together the look and sound for this DVD. The 5.1 mix sounds quite good although it's not designed to use the format to best effect the surround speakers are used for subtle sound effects.

Unfortunately we don't get much in the way of extras here just the original theatrical trailer and a commentary track however the commentary track by writer/director Fellowes is quite detailed with incredible insight and wit. This is one of the best commentary tracks I've heard so that makes up for the lack of other extras. Deleted scenes and outtakes would have been a nice edition to the film particularly with a trio of such terrific actors driving the drama in this film.

Although this dramatic thriller won't be to everyone's taste, "Separate Lies" manages to be an involving, powerful drama with a trio of terrific performances. Those interested in a thought provoking morally complex drama will enjoy this film. Keep in mind this is much more in keeping with some of Hitchcock's more thoughtful, quiet thrillers than the over-the-top or larger than life thrillers that tend to dominate the theaters today.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "No life is perfect, though it may pretend to be." 30 Oct 2006
By Luan Gaines - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
In this quietly powerful movie, a profoundly moral man is faced with a terrible decision, one that becomes increasingly complicated as the story evolves. Successful solicitor James Manning (Tom Wilkinson) has always followed a strict moral code, one that chafes on his all-too-mortal wife, Anne (Emily Watson), who believes he sets impossibly high standards that she will always fail. Attracted to a divorced heir recently returned to the English countryside, the charming, if jaded Billy Bule (Rupert Everett), Anne allows herself to be seduced. Returning home to host a cocktail party after a couple of drinks with Billy while her husband is in London on business, Anne and Billy are involved in a hit and run accident. The victim is Mr. Pierce, the husband of the Manning's housekeeper.

Manning's determined pursuit of the perpetrator leads to unexpected revelations, the most devastating that his wife was driving the vehicle in question. Suddenly the solution becomes personal and Manning's reputation and marriage is on the line, not to mention his anxiety for Anne's well-being. Surprisingly, it is Anne who cannot bear her own failings, riddled with guilt, not because of the affair she fails to end, but because of her betrayal of the widow, Mrs. Pierce, who refuses to believe Anne is at fault in spite of her abject confession. It is the housekeeper's forgiveness that shames them all, freeing them to attend to the business of living, the Manning's attempt to heal a flawed marriage: "She was tired of feeling guilty, so in the end she stayed." When Billy is diagnosed with terminal cancer, Anne fails her husband once more, leaving to minister to the man she loves, the torrid affair turned more tender by necessity.

The juxtaposition of emotions is delicate and thoughtful, the weight of personal guilt palpable, especially for Manning, who is so finely tuned to his moral compass, the one impediment to a successful marriage with a faithless woman. Ultimately, Bule dies and the Manning's come to terms with their loss of one another, moving on to separate lives, but with the peace of having gone from anger and resentment to a common forgiveness. The one act of violence that changes the direction of the Manning's lives is supplanted by a more compassionate view of the human condition and the peril of lies and infidelity. Beautifully nuanced, Wilkinson's performance stands out and Watson is perfection as the not-so-young, conflicted and unhappy wife of a very moral man. Luan Gaines/2006.
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