If this Australian hit about adultery and midlife angst in Sydneyadapted by Andrew Bovell from his stage play Speaking in Tonguesweren’t quite so shapeless, it would be tempting to compare it to Carlo Emilio Gadda’s unfinished 1946 novel That Awful Mess on Via Merulana, a detective story whose focus is less the never-solved mystery than the overall misery exposed by the investigation. This is striking for its performancesespecially Anthony LaPaglia as a highly compromised (and married) detective, Rachael Blake as the married woman he sleeps with, Barbara Hershey as a troubled psychiatrist who disappears, and Geoffrey Rush as the latter’s husbandbut not terribly interesting in terms of mise en scene; Ray Lawrence (Bliss) directed. The somewhat abstruse title refers to a beautiful bush with a thorny underside. 120 min. (JR)

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