The reverse-order gimmick of Harold Pinter’s screenplay seems meant to revitalize some trite and tedious material—the breakup of a love affair—yet the expected literary games don’t materialize: the film plods backward in time with the same dull linearity it would have moving forward. As the publisher betrayed by his wife (Patricia Hodge) and best friend (Jeremy Irons), Ben Kingsley displays a spooky and original sense of comic timing; unfortunately, the stage-trained director, David Jones, doesn’t know how to exploit Kingsley’s rhythms cinematically—the editing sabotages the most creative aspects of the performance. Not a total loss—some wit and a few well-sketched moments survive—but the betrayal here is largely one of the talent involved.