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Karen O'Connor, a young journalist known for her celebrity profiles, is consumed with discovering the truth behind a long-buried incident that affected the lives and careers of showbiz team Vince Collins and Lanny Morris.
A struggling actor's job as a hotel custodian is a front for his real job: being rented out as a gigolo by his supervisor. A co-worker is obsessed with him, but he ignores and avoids her. He leaves his acting resume in the hotel room of a screenwriter, who is casting for a TV movie based on the true story of her deceased brother. She hires him to play the lead and the two begin an affair. She becomes increasingly distraught as it becomes evident that the movie's producer is changing her story. Egoyan's trademark tangle of bizarre relationships surrounds the protagonists on their way to a mind-blowing conclusion. A hypnotic, fascinating film.
Speaking Parts is not a movie to be merely watched; it must be engaged, just as the main characters (Lance, Lisa and Clara) must choose to engage their lives rather than just watch. At first, watching or being watched is all: Lance seems to exist only as others view him. Clara watches and rewatches a video of her dead brother. Lisa watches Lance any way she can--at work, through renting his movies over and over and watching only his scenes, even watching him do his laundry.
"Words aren't everything," says Lisa, but as beautiful as these look-alike protagonists are, it is the non-beautiful ones around them who have power over them--the power of words. Only when Lance shatters his objective perfection by screaming the one word in the movie that comes truly from himself does he become a real person.
Egoyan's mastery shows in his tight control; every scene, every prop, every movement and gesture reinforces his bleak and nearly-silent vision. Although McManus (Lance) has said that he approached working with Egoyan as "an employee," his talent is showcased in his use of expression and body language to portray the powerful/powerless object of desire and fantasy. Striking images abound, as they must in a film about image, about the relationship between object and subject, between viewed and viewer: Lance facedown in a waste of white sheets, wrists crossed over his head as if bound; Lisa reaching out to touch Lance as if revulsed by him; the similarity in looks between the mute-and-powerless (all beautiful brunettes) and the banal-but-powerful (all bland and blond).
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