Just to be clear: This is not the long-awaited mega-climax of that teen party favorite, the Final Destination
series. Too bad, really, because this first Merchant-Ivory film to be made after the 2005 death of Ismail Merchant is a dull, dull affair. Ivory joins forces with screenwriter Ruth Prawer Jhabvala,the longtime third leg of the partnership, for this adaptation of the Peter Cameron novel about a young American scholar who travels to remote Uruguay in hopes of persuading the listless family of a deceased writer to authorize a biography. This is nearly as exciting as it sounds. There's no dramatic urgency or payoff, and the actors barely look interested. The principal cast, which has no South Americans, includes Anthony Hopkins, Laura Linney, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Hiroyuki Sanada, Omar Metwally and Alexandra Maria Lara.