If I Didn’t Care


A summer movie for those who parse “summer” as a verb, filmmaker bros
Benjamin and Orson Cummings’ modern-noir thriller suitably sets its stage within a community of believable back-stabbers and worse: the upper crusties of the Hamptons. Bored all week while his wife Janice (Noelle Beck) makes the ducats as a Manhattan lawyer, trophy husband Davis (Hal Hartley veteran Bill Sage) gets a little something going on the side with real estate vixen Hadley (Susan Misner). You’d be half an idiot not to predict their affair and wife-killing plot, all concocted under the smarter-than-he-looks scrutiny of grizzled Long Island police investigator Linus (Roy Scheider, invoking all but Columbo’s voice). Still, the characterizations and tropes in the film’s first half are mighty convincing, as if everyday drama held eerie parallels to some oneiric, bigger-than-life ’40s classic, and the lensing is clean and scenic. But with their unrelenting, nostalgic clutch on old-school noir rules (a girl and a gun, plans goes awry, an easily spotted macguffin), the Cummings boys paint themselves into the proverbial corner with a cop-out ex machina ending—at which point there is no longer a need for the title’s “If.”