Irresistible (2006) / Thriller-Drama

MPAA Rated: R for some violent images, sexuality and language
Running Time: 103 min.

Cast: Susan Sarandon, Sam Neill, Emily Blunt, Amanda Douge, Joanna Hunt-Prokhovnik, William McInnes, Georgie Parker, Charles 'Bud" Tingwell
Director: Ann Turner
Screenplay: Ann Turner
Review published April 14, 2006

Susan Sarandon (Alfie, Shall We Dance) stars in this straight-to-video release that is far beneath an actress of her stature and capabilities.  It very much feels like a sensationalist women's drama made for television, with substandard thriller elements that, once all of the cards are revealed, make little sense, while also barely resonating for those looking for more substantive fare.  

Sarandon plays illustrator Sophie Hartley, a displaced American-raised Australian, now living in England with her successful husband Craig (Neill, Jurassic Park III) and two adorable daughters.  With a recently deceased mother and a looming deadline for her work, the stress begins to build, further compounded by the fact that she is beginning to suspect that someone has been breaking into her home and trying to mess with her family.  Her primary suspect is Craig's beautiful assistant, Mara (Blunt, My Summer of Love), who has been showing some behavior that Sophie can only think to be foul play.  Accusations mount, but the more she is certain of Mara's underhanded activities, the more people begin to think she has become mentally unstable, and even her husband has begun to distance himself -- right into Mara's waiting arms, Sophie suspects.

The only suspense to be had in this bland chiller is whether or not Sophie is right about her family being threatened, or whether she is, indeed, cracking up.  While the answer to this might be obvious given the clues we're shown, writer-director Ann Turner (Dallas Doll, Hammers Over the Anvil) confuses the issue by making it go both ways in such a manner that the answer can never truly satisfy.  Even horror-fantasy elements are mixed in, as if the very common occurrences within the film are the result of witchcraft or meddling supernatural forces, further diluting an already farfetched film to the breaking point of absurdity.

Despite the lackluster plotting and direction, Sarandon manages to deliver a fine performance, and the supporting cast do admirably with what little they have to work with.  It's just that Irresistible is full of elements recycled from dozens of notable films, giving us little in the way of interesting developments to hold our attention.  If you regularly watch and enjoy the typical fare you'd find on the Lifetime network, this one's right up your alley, but for everyone else, Irresistible will prove to be very resistible indeed.

Qwipster's rating:

2006 Vince Leo