|'The dead give away as to the quality of Glenn Taranto's script stares you right in the face from the clumsy title, as full of dual meanings as it is of dead-weight, writing class-lite obviousness.'|
Stolen Lives has a fairly attractive dusty, sandblasted look, which survives in both the modern day segment, where we follow Jon Hamm's distraught copper and the fifty-years-previously chunk of the film, where Josh Lucas attempts to keep his family unit together.
Sadly, there's not much more here to recommend above cinematographer Andy Steinman's attempts to make what is definitively a television movie look much more expensive. The problems start with the balancing of Hamm and Lucas, with the former set up as the main focus only to be unceremoniously ignored for the benefit of Lucas. Hamm has a gruff hulking presence that may have made for interesting watching, even for something as comfortably middle-of-the-road as this, whereas Lucas's story is meandering and his performance as weak as usual.
The dead give away as to the quality of Glenn Taranto's script stares you right in the face from the clumsy title, as full of dual meanings as it is of dead-weight, writing class-lite obviousness. There appears to be something going on with religion (the characters are named after gospels) but it never develops into anything, much like several parts of the plot. Hamm's late questioning of the only suspect the film ever offers seems to be going nowhere, until he incredibly pulls out a question that doesn't make much sense, yet reveals everything.
Meanwhile, a host of TV actors (Mike from 24!) crop up to remind you that this is pretty low-rent stuff and director Anders Anderson somehow manages to cast Rhona Mitra as female lead, whilst Jessica Chastain hovers in the wings.
There's a handful of nice shots, including an opening one involving a digger, which looks expertly planned, but they are few and far between and the low-level production values shown in the ageing make-up, wisely held back until it no longer could be, hint at just how underwhelming this whole production feels.
Stolen Lives was available on Sky Go.