Maria Bello’s performance in this dank psychodrama (2008) has been hailed as “fearless” and “courageous,” critical code for “degrading situations” and “lots of skin.” The story involves a nihilistic survivor of childhood sexual abuse (Bello) who skips out on her pallid, golf-obsessed hubby (Rufus Sewell) for an S-M fling with an Internet lover (Jason Patric) that she hopes will end in her own death. To her credit, Bello makes a real commitment to this spiteful, self-absorbed character, though the credibility she generates through sheer force of will is no match for the gimmicky plot twist that arrives at the story’s midpoint and sends the movie spinning off into stupid-land. The director is Johan Renck, a respected maker of TV commercials and music videos (critical code for “hack”). 102 min.
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