Alan J. Pakula was a fine film director. His credits include All the President’s Men, which I watched when it first came out and much enjoyed. An early success was To Kill a Mockingbird, subject of a recent post here, and this prompted me to watch a film he made many years later, and not long before his death in a freak car accident, the 1992 movie Consenting Adults.
The film has a good cast, led by Kevin Spacey and Kevin Kline, and deals with two suburban neighbours who are both married to extremely glamorous women. Their male bonding leads Spacey to suggest a bit of wife-swopping. At first Kline is horrified by the proposed betrayal But he begins to warm to the idea, encouraged - it seems – by his own wife, and Spacey’s.. Soon, however, it becomes apparent that things are not what they seem, and murder ensues.
I’m afraid this was a film when the plot, although appealing in some ways, was woefully lacking in credibility. When Kline is set up for a murder he didn’t commit, why do the police and even his own lawyer take no interest in his defence? Not much of it made sense to me. My sympathy for Kline was also tempered by the sheer silliness of some of his behaviour.
It’s a well-made and rather glossy film, but as a thriller, sadly lacking. And To Kill a Mockingbird it most definitely is not. Pakula was capable of much better.