What would you do if you found out that your loyal (or so you thought) spouse was having an affair? This is not a new question in cinema. From Dial M for Murder to Match Point and throughout the history of movies, infidelity has been a constant source of melodrama. The Other Man continues in this tradition with a trio of solid actors and an appealing European motif, but ultimately it tries a bit too hard to put a new spin on a tried-and-true genre.
From the trailer and promotional materials, The Other Man appears to be a fairly standard love triangle thriller: Man finds out his wife is having a secret affair, goes looking for the other man, plans revenge, etc. And for the first two-thirds of the film, this is pretty much what The Other Man is. But in its third act, the film takes a completely unexpected turn that causes the viewer to rethink everything they've seen. It's a dramatic ending, to be sure, but also a little cheap. It's a twist ending that feels frustrating and baffling and, unless you see the film a second time, completely out of place.
This is what I can tell you about the plot, which is adapted from a short story by Bernhard Schlink (The Reader): Peter (Liam Neeson) and Lisa (Laura Linney) are a wealthy married couple jetsetting around Europe where Peter is a business executive and Lisa is a celebrated shoe designer. They have an adult daughter named Abigail (Romola Garai) who is dating a working class man in whom Peter disapproves. After a few scenes in which Lisa talks to Peter about whether he would ever consider an affair with another woman, Lisa disappears. After she leaves, Peter looks in her files and computer and uncovers evidence of an ongoing affair she had had with someone named "Ralph" (Antonio Banderas). ...1
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