DATELINE: Smarty Pants
If you want a movie that gives a disservice, try The Spinning Man. This is one of those intellectual mystery movies, which is to say, you won’t have clever a plot, only an overwrought one.
The movie has all the ingredients for an excellent film, so what went wrong? The movie deals with a prickly, pompous, persnickety, philandering professor of philosophy who is suspected of a murder by a persistent police detective. Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled plots too.
Stars are Pierce Brosnan and Guy Pearce. We presumed Pearce was the cop and Pierce was the suspect. How wrong we were to fall into the plot hole. That’s a great start.
However, we’ve known our share of philosophy professors at small private colleges—and none has been as obtuse and arrogant as Guy Pearce’s Dr. Birch. He antagonizes the police needlessly when they question him about a missing female student whom he may or may not have known.
Pearce is snide, even to his long-suffering wife (Minnie Driver) who also begins to think he not only sleeps with an array of beautiful nubile young students but may be responsible for something dastardly.
Pierce Brosnan’s detective is an intellectual equal to the professor, and he may be put off by the abject hostility. Okay, we know some professors see police as enemies. And, personal flaws render some police detectives to a parochial beat.
We then are thrust into one of those philosophical conundrums like you found with Guy Pearce in Chris Nolan’s film about memory. Lightning does not strike twice.
The audience is hung out to dry when solutions seem to come tumbling out. We were left a tad irritated more than intrigued, which is never good.