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Starring: Jude Law, Vera Farmiga, Juliette Binoche, Martin Freeman, Ray Winstone

Directed by: Anthony Minghella

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Jude Law plays Will, a landscape architect going about the business of gentrifying London’s King’s Cross, a multiracial area teeming with crime and illegal immigrants. When Will’s high-tech office is burgled, he tracks one of the teen thieves, Miro (Rafi Gavron), to the apartment the boy shares with his Bosnian mother, Amira (Juliette Binoche). The two indulge in an affair. For Will, floundering in a relationship with Liv (Robin Wright Penn), a Scandinavian whose melancholy rivals Hamlet’s, Amira is a way into a world he barely comprehends. When Amira secretly films their sex to blackmail Will so he won’t turn Miro over to the police, the issues come to a head. Or they would if director-writer Anthony Minghella (The English Patient, The Talented Mr. Ripley), in his first original script since his 1991 debut with Truly, Madly, Deeply, hadn’t taken such a lethargic approach to the material. The actors, especially Binoche, do their damnedest to bring urgency to their roles. But despite Minghella’s admirable attempt to tackle major themes on an intimate scale, the film goes down like weak tea. There’s no kick in it.

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