The Other Man

Rated 2.0

A London software designer (Liam Neeson) learns that his wife (Laura Linney) has been cheating on him, so he tracks down the other man (Antonio Banderas) to a cafe in Milan and plays chess with him. That deliberately reductive synopsis makes writer-director Richard Eyre’s movie sound almost as ridiculous as it really is. Based on a story by Bernhard Schlink, the story is (like last year’s The Reader, also from a Schlink novel) overliterary, far-fetched and false; and Eyre’s script is muddled, yanking characters (and audience) back and forth between London and Milan without explaining where they are or how they got there. The actors (including Romola Garai as Neeson and Linney’s daughter) rip into their dialogue with throbbing fervor, as if painfully aware of what a silly crock of folderol it all is.