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Grieving widow meets drug addict

PUBLISHED: 15:31 30 January 2008 | UPDATED: 11:30 01 July 2010

PROPELLED by strong central performances from Halle Berry as a grieving widow and Benicio Del Toro as a heroin user this tale of addiction,

Things We Lost in the Fire

Cert 15

PROPELLED by strong central performances from Halle Berry as a grieving widow and Benicio Del Toro as a heroin user this tale of addiction, loss and redemption is disappointingly let down by a formulaic plot and a sense of disconnectedness that renders it oddly emotionless.

Brian (David Duchovny) and Audrey Burke (Berry) lead a picture-perfect life. They are well-off, have two wonderful children and are still deeply in love after years of marriage. The idyll is shattered irretrievably when Brian is shot and killed after intervening in a domestic dispute in an implausible have-a-go-hero moment.

While preparing for her husband's funeral Audrey discovers that Brian had a secret friend, Jerry Sunbourne (Del Toro) a greasy-haired down on his luck lawyer with a junk habit that is slowly but surely dissolving what's left of his messed-up life. She invites Jerry to the funeral and he ends up staying in the family's garage.

The junkie then becomes something of a surrogate father for the kids and as he grows closer to the kids Audrey starts to resent him and turfs him out. This is more than Jerry can handle and he sets off on a drug binge before Audrey sees the error of her ways and goes looking for him.

Once again in a stable environment Jerry decides to kick the habit for good and Del Toro is put through his paces in some crunching, sweat-soaked withdrawal scenes.

Aside from several brief flashes the film fails to summon the energy it so tries so hard to find and the seen-it-all-before script does little to add any kind of dramatic tension to take tings to the next level.

* Things We Lost in the Fire opens in cinemas Friday.

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