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Simpatico review

Twenty years after a horse-racing scam left them with a stack of cash and prangs of guilt, hopeless drunkard Vinnie (Nolte) plots a devious revenge on his now successful friend Carter (Bridges). His plan is to expose the scam and win back old flame Rosie (Stone), who Carter has since married. But Vinnie's cathartic crusade soon opens old wounds, ramming the past back into the lives of those who'd rather avoid it...

The first act of this starchy prod at secrets and lies promises much, but as flashbacks dissolve and interrupt, Warchus appears more interested in the scam mechanics and its aftermath rather than feeling for his characters (Davis Nicholls' po-faced, pseudo-lyrical script certainly doesn't help). Given Warchus' theatrical background, it's no surprise that Simpatico feels stagey, but he wastes a quality cast, all of who turn in performances way better than their troubled, dull characters deserve.

As for the fumbled finale (which ditches the Bridges-Stone-Nolte triangle for a minor sub-plot resolution), its corn-iness is well out of place in an otherwise downbeat, frosty affair.

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