CONVERSATIONS WITH OTHER WOMEN (Hans Canosa). 84 minutes. NNN Rating: NNN
The split-screen filmic device reaches as far back as Abel Gance's Napoleon, allowed Doris and Rock to share some Pillow Talk and made for some creepy moments in Brian DePalma's early thrillers.
In Conversations With Other Women, director Hans Canosa takes the technique about as far as it can go. At a Manhattan wedding, a man (Aaron Eckhart) and a woman (Helena Bonham Carter) meet, flirt and play out the rest of the night, each in his or her own separate world.
The fact that the two used to be a couple (we occasionally see their younger selves, also split off) is established pretty early on, so this unexpected reunion gets emotionally messy as the drunken night continues.
The charm and novelty of the split screen wears off, but it's initially thrilling. We're constantly reading the characters, even when they can't read each other. And we're given access to their paranoid fantasies and imaginings, which adds texture, too.
The two actors are so alive and spontaneous, at times it feels like we're watching an intimate theatre performance. Neil LaBute regular Eckhart is used to playing hard-to-read guys, but the revelation here is period-pic princess Bonham Carter, whose neurotic, brittle line readings make her one very believable modern woman.