If you’re going to do a thriller in a deliberately slow, contemplative style, there had better be something going on beneath the surface-an emotional subtext to justify the rhythmic meandering. Under Suspicion, a conventional murder mystery made in Britain, unfolds with a drab, overcast naturalism. It’s sluggishly paced, and the entire movie seems to take place under the grayest of gray skies. Yet the earnest, ”probing” mood just gives us that much more time to notice how arbitrary the usual whodunit convolutions are. Liam Neeson, as a private detective suspected of murdering his wife, gives a compelling performance; he turns his small, wounded eyes into pools of fear and guilt. On the other hand, the generally likable Laura San Giacomo is badly miscast as a Barbara Stanwyck-type femme fatale. Her speaking style is all wrong — the hard- boiled epigrams come out in snippy suburbanese — and she’s way too short to be playing this sort of treacherous glamour-puss. Teetering on high heels, with ruby lips and a silky mane, she’s like a little girl who wandered into Mommy’s closet. C+

Under Suspicion
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