"Hell, I even thought that the people elected the president." So says Carter Page III, son of a popular political figure who now "walks" rich wives from place to place, including a regular canasta game. He's well-bred and runs in all the right circles, but he's aware of the truthlessness of Washington, DC, and the games played to get the movers and shakers what they want.
So, Carter is tested when he becomes involved in a cover-up. He chooses to lie to help a friend escape scandal. Kristin Scott Thomas finds a friend dead in his apartment, and to avoid the political fall-out from embroilment in such an event, Carter decides to tell the authorities that he found the body thus becoming a suspect in the murder itself.
Carter must use his ingenuity, influence, and intelligence to solve the crime and get himself out of deep water. The film has him do that very slowly, with very little intrigue. I just didn't find myself caring all that much about these rich folks in peril. And anyone who doesn't guess that the wives are not all on the level would be horribly naive. It's not new to tell me, either, that Washington is corrupt and sexist. It's not particularly enthralling to watch the ultra-rich complaining about the very thing that gives them their power. I understand, for the most part, what Paul Schrader was doing with the Page character as the centrepiece here, but I found the film too slow to really get into it.
It is a lazy portrait of wall furnishings, more than it is a charged story about people and environment. Woody Harrelson, however, is brilliant, and evermore proves himself one of the most versatile actors in Hollywood.
"Julian Kay is on the prowl and looking for someone to please. Boyish and sensual, he speaks five or six languages, and is equally comfortable as a chauffeur for a wealthy middle-aged matron, and as a translator/companion for the lonely wife of an executive. He is the American Gigolo. But Julian's love-for-sale lifestyle turns deadly when a client is murdered and Julian becomes the prime suspect."