If I Didn't Care

2007, Movie, NR, 90 mins

Review

IF I DIDN'T CARE
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So low-key that it verges on unconsciousness, first-time filmmaker brothers Ben and Orson Cummings' lazy little thriller about murder in the Hamptons aspires to update classic noir situations and characters but falls sadly short.

Handsome, lazily opportunistic Davis Meyers (Bill Sage) is married to successful lawyer Janice (Noelle Beck), who spends weeknights at their Manhattan apartment while he stays behind in their tastefully appointed Southampton house. During the off-season, there's not much to do except drink, sleep around and pretend to be busy; Davis is a master of all three. Though he's supposedly finding investors for an industrial property, Davis spends most of his time walking his dog on the nearly deserted beach, where he often runs into local cop Detective Linus (Roy Scheider) with his dog, Schopenhauer, and hanging out at the local bar bemoaning the fact that he and Janice are childless. Davis is also having an affair with ambitious but unsuccessful Realtor Hadley (Susan Misner), who's tired of being the other woman. But when she mentions divorce, Davis demurs; everything belongs to Janice. The only solution is murder and, naturally, Davis can't be the triggerman — the husband is always a suspect. So Hadley does the deed, except that she kills the wrong person. With Janice still alive and Linus hot on the case, the guilty lovers are caught in an ever-shrinking trap that will soon be too small for two.

Graduates of the North Carolina School of the Arts Summer Film Program and year-round Hamptons residents, the Cummings brothers came up with the idea of making a contemporary noir thriller while chatting with neighbor Alec Baldwin and pitched the story to Scheider when they happened to spot him in a local coffee shop. That they got the film made is no small feat, but it would be more impressive if the film itself weren't so bloodless. Though self-professed fans of classic noir, the Cummings' story of murder, adultery and betrayal revolves around bored and underdeveloped characters whose motives are so lackadaisically defined, it's hard to believe they can be bothered to commit murder. And while the inevitable complications and cruel twists of fate ensue, there's no sense of urgency or desperation — even the Hamptons setting seems oddly irrelevant, if pretty. leave a comment --Maitland McDonagh

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