Fred (Stanley Tucci), an expensively clad Manhattan lawyer, is at the front door, suitcases in hand. He’s left his wife, he tells Velvet (Alice Eve), just like he promised four years ago.
Alice, slim, stylish, beautiful — a model? — lets him in, triggering a war of words that is always gripping and often repellent, qualities that instantly mark this as a film by writer-director Neil LaBute (Your Friends and Neighbors, In the Company of Men).
LaBute characters rarely speak of love, although it’s clear that Fred is obsessed with Velvet, who became his mistress while she was dating his son. Velvet appears to have cared for Fred, too, but things ended badly those four years ago, so why is he back now? And why doesn’t she throw him out the moment he gets physically threatening?
As Fred and Velvet circle and feint, nuzzle and insult, a deftly planted series of revelations constantly shifts the balance of power between the two. With the screen all to themselves, Tucci and the English-born Eve make a riveting team, and although the film’s final twist undercuts all that has come before, Some Velvet Morning is provocation of the most artful kind.