With its labyrinthine plot and hard-boiled voice-over, this film noir thriller is a throwback to an earlier era – and so is its protagonist, Adrien Brody’s jaded hero.
He’s a New York tabloid newspaper columnist, highly conscious that he belongs to a dying breed. ‘I’m an endangered species,’ he says near the start of the film.
He become more literally endangered, however, when Yvonne Strahovski’s ice-blonde femme fatale inveigles him into investigating the mysterious year-old death of her brilliant filmmaker husband (Campbell Scott).
Sure enough, the case soon thickens, putting Brody’s wife (Jennifer Beals) and two young children at risk from goons sent by Steven Berkoff’s loathsome media mogul.
Some viewers will find the plot – which involves sexual obsession, deception and stacks of enigmatic video cards – too twisty for the film’s good, but the payoff surprises by extending sympathy in unexpected directions.
Besides, the stars really do look the part, with Brody making a convincingly dogged sleuth, while Strahovski (cold-hearted Serena Joy in The Handmaid’s Tale) is every inch the dangerously seductive siren.