Director Martha Fiennes casts brother Ralph in Chromophobia, a complex drama about interweaving lives in London. He's Stephen, gay art historian and pal of Iona (Kirstin Scott Thomas), a self-centred rich bitch whose husband (Damian Lewis) has his own problems. Throw in Penelope Cruz as a sickly stripper, Ian Holm as a secretive judge and Ben Chaplin as a conflicted journalist and you've got a lengthy ensemble piece that's emotionally distant but rarely dull.
Most of Chromophobia's characters inhabit a stylish world that's beautiful to watch: Iona punctuates her minimal decor with modern works of art such as the titular installation, and dresses like a model from the pages of Vogue. But Iona's world is cold, and missing the passion only a short sharp shock can bring. Enter Ben Chaplin as Trent, an investigative reporter who reunites with old pal Marcus (Iona's lawyer husband), and gleans some juicy gossip that could make his career. Dilemmas follow as Trent mulls over loyalties while Stephen is risking his own career - and possibly life - by placing his trust in a group of young hooligans he meets on a visit to a local school.
"A DECENT WATCH FOR FANS OF DARK DRAMA"
All of this is reasonably engaging; less so is the melodrama running alongside it starring Cruz as struggling single mum Gloria, and Ifans as the social worker desperate to help her. Neither character's decisions ring true, and the subplot is straight out of sentimental telemovie. Nevertheless, Gloria's connection to the other characters provides a decent pay-off, helping to make Chromophobia a decent watch for fans of mature, dark drama.
Chromophobia is out in the UK on 14th December 2007.