Crucially, the film fails to coherently convey the fact that Lou is an unreliable narrator and that what he tells us might not be true, something that would help explain the characterisation of the women and distance the film from his view of them.
Winterbottom was right to keep the light and compositions flat and bright and eerily sunny, no matter what sort of evilness Lou perpetrates. But the story should grow progressively more reckless-seeming and feverish; instead, it is methodical to a fault.
Winterbottom's period psychological thriller features two scenes of startling violence, but they're far more unpleasant than shocking, light years from the meaningful jolts that enliven the best of his work.
Winterbottom's film is really rather down beat and hard to take. Perhaps that's only just so. Lou's heart of darkness takes us to a dead end. It's the kind of violent movie where you just want all the bloody mayhem to stop.