24 user 12 critic

Shadows & Lies (2010)

William Vincent (original title)
R | | Crime, Drama | 25 April 2010 (USA)
1:26 | Trailer

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A man returns to New York after years in exile to save the girl he loves.


Jay Anania


Jay Anania
1 nomination. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
James Franco ... William Vincent
Julianne Nicholson ... Ann
Martin Donovan ... Victor
Josh Lucas ... Boss
Haskell King Haskell King ... Jason
Zoe Lister-Jones ... Rebecca (as Zoe Lister Jones)
Ty Anania Ty Anania ... Older Brother
Louis Anania Louis Anania ... Younger Brother
Norm Golden ... Jasper
Gibson Frazier ... Sitting Man
Emily Tremaine ... Cindy
Julienne Hanzelka Kim ... Juliette
Vince Jolivette ... Russell
John Tintori John Tintori ... Walking Man
Mick Casalle Mick Casalle ... Man with Cigarette


The story of William Vincent as he recounts the eccentric and curious path that has brought him, at mortal risk, to New York City, after four years in exile, to rescue a woman he scarcely knows, Ann, from the vague crime syndicate that first brought them together. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Crime | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for sexuality, language, some violence and drug content | See all certifications »






Release Date:

25 April 2010 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

In Praise of Shadows See more »

Filming Locations:

New York City, New York, USA

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs




Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


On the opening title card the word iridescent is misspelled with 2 Rs. See more »


[first lines]
Title Card: The iridescent lipstick of the Kyoto geisha when seen in the dim light of a candle... / Jun 'ichiro Tanizaki / 'In Praise of Shadows'
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User Reviews

A Little Cinematic Masterpiece
18 July 2011 | by gradyharpSee all my reviews

There will likely be a small audience for this artistic little cinematic treasure SHADOWS AND LIES, but while the audiences crowd in line for the multi-million dollar retreads of comic book heroes and potty mouth 'guy or chick flicks' it is reassuring that there are experimentalists like writer/director/editor Jay Anania and his pupil, the multi-talented James Franco who continue to push the edge of cinema and create the challenges of this jewel-like film.

Anania opens his film with a dark in medias res raw episode that quickly moves to an image of Joseph (James Franco) missing his flight to Japan because he steps out of line to retrieve a book. The plane crashes, killing everyone on board, and that opens the doors for Joseph to move to Manhattan to have a new life: he becomes William Vincent, a strange loner/drifter who has a job editing nature films for schools in a sparse storefront abode and also performs petty crimes. What gradually becomes apparent is that we maybe re-visiting what happened four years ago: William Vincent, a quiet and mysterious criminal, falls for a New York gangster's (Josh Lucas) favorite call girl Ann (Julianne Nicholson), after performing some 'deliveries' arranged by one Victor (Martin Donavan). When William's feelings are discovered Vincent is forced to flee the city, threatened with death if he should ever return. But after four years in exile (? in Japan), William secretly returns to rescue Ann from the life of derision and fear she is leading. There are quirky moments in the film where William is in the park and 'sees and talks to' two young brothers - Ty and Lewis played by Ty and Lewis Anania - who may simply be a part of William's previous existence as Joseph. But it is this very disturbing interchange of time sequences that makes the film so powerful - are we watching the now or are we watching the then, and if we are seeing the past, how does the ending make sense? Another observer states it this way: 'The story of William Vincent as he recounts the eccentric and curious path that has brought him, at mortal risk, to New York City, after four years in exile, to rescue a woman he scarcely knows, Ann, from the vague crime syndicate that first brought them together.'

Franco is disturbingly brilliant as this strange character Joseph/William and the scenes that simply sit in silence with Franco barely outlined by terrific lighting effects or interacting in spare dialogue with Ann or Victor or the Boss are visually and emotionally stunning. The cinematography by Daniel Vecchione is moody, dark and always appropriate in adding mystery to the story. John Medeski's musical score is primarily a few piano notes and the wheezing sounds of an odd organ (melodica) instrument played by a street person. It all simply works as a brilliant film. Some may label this 'film noir': it is more like experimental 'noir film noir' at every level.

Grady Harp

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