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By Ron Wells | December 10, 1999

Sing it with me! (To the tune of ‘There’s Something About Cameron’) His friends would say stop talkin’, Obsession gets old, fast. His friends would say no stalkin’, To find with whom she was last. So he hires a private dick, To see where she will go, But there’s something about Sarah, That …they …don’t …know. Sarah… There’s just something about Sarah.

In this second screen version of Graham Greene’s novel, novelist Maurice Bendrix (Ralph Fiennes) chances upon old friend Henry Miles (Stephen Rea) in the London rain. Not appearing well, Bendrix helps Henry home, only to run into his wife, Sarah (Julianne Moore). Henry is distraught that his wife may be seeing another man. Bendrix had not seen her since she had ended their torrid affair years earlier, during World War II. Is he over it? Is she over it? Is any male in this picture (including, apparently, God) NOT enthralled with her on first sight? No, no, a thousand times no.
Director Neil Jordan makes great movies (“The Crying Game”, “The Butcher Boy”), bad movies (“Company of Wolves”, “In Dreams”), and in this case, something in between. The picture moves a little slow. At 105 minutes, it feels closer to three hours. It’s not until the last act where you finally understand everyone’s motivations that the action really picks up. The rest of the time, Bendrix, Henry, and Sarah just seem as monumentally self-absorbed as many novelists and British people do. Throw in a religious monkey wrench (that lacks conviction) and Jordan has less than the romantic opus he desires.
Still, it looks great, the cast looks great, and the sex scenes look great. If enough people go to see it, maybe it will receive a “South Park” parody that the film, the director, and the audience so truly deserve.

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