Dir: Dan McCormack. US. 1999. 104 mins.

Prod Co: Charny/Strong. Int'l sales: Beyond Films. Prods: Ruth Charny, Shelly Strong. Co-prods: Alicia Reilly-Larson, Deborah Cappogrosso. Exec prods: Robert Baruc, Alicia Reilly-Larson. Scr: Dan McOrmack. DoP: Dan Gillham. Prod des: Michael Krantz. Ed: Fred Wardell, Martin Hunter. Mus: William T Stromberg. Main cast: David Aaron Baker, Stockard Channing, Peter Gallagher, Mary McCormack, Rob Morrow, Campbell Scott.

A brooding, Kafkaesque journey through a marriage on the rocks, Other Voices spins around in ever-decreasing circles of eccentricity before collapsing under the weight of its own ambition. An audacious attempt to match soul-searching, zeitgeist emotion with film noir foreboding and Hitchcockian suspense, it singularly fails to engage and becomes exasperating long before the layers of its mystery are unwrapped. Even with some measure of critical support, it's hard to see much of an audience for a film that bewilders and irritates in almost equal measures.

Writer-director Dan McCormack does create a convincing sense of wider millennium paranoia and anxiety as a backdrop to investigating the destructive forces at work in the supposedly 'exemplary' marriage of Phil (David Aaron Baker) and Anna (Mary McCormack). Barely able to communicate, the couple each confide in others that they have been seeing someone else. Their confessions have devastating effects on Phil's best friend, the unrelentingly talkative John (Campbell Scott) and on Anna's volatile brother Jeff (Rob Morrow). Subsequent actions add to the twisted sense of farce as events spiral dangerously out of control before the couple's deepest secret is exposed.

Cinematographer Dan Gillham's eerie, foggy visions of New York as the ultimate urban nightmare are one of the strongest virtues in a film where the crazed wit is an acquired taste and the more eye-catching performances are deeply mannered. Peter Gallagher's unlikely Gallic sleuth and Rob Morrow's Tourette Syndrome sufferer are among those eagerly tipping the scales in favour of the bizarre and unconvincing.