They Dying Gaul


Middle 40-60% of all time (see others with this rank)

Festival Year

2005 (click here to see all competition films from this year)


Dramatic Competition


Patricia Clarkson, Peter Sarsgaard, Campbell Scott

Non-Cast Credits

Craig Lucas, David Newman, Paul E. Cohen, Joseph Caruso, Jerome Schwartz, Elba Luis Lugo, Campbell Scott, George VanBuskirk, Bobby Bukowski, Andy Keir, Steve Reich, Lisa Zimble


Craig Lucas enters the indie scene as a director with an audacious first feature adapted from his successful play. The Dying Gaul is a psychological thriller in the Hitchcock tradition. It plays like a Greek tragedy, thick with intrigue, betrayal, and revenge.

The story is set inside the rarefied world of the Hollywood elite. A fledgling screenwriter is offered a million dollars for a script -- the personal story of his lover who died of AIDS. There is only one catch to securing the deal and taking that first step to success: he must change the film's male character into a woman.

The Dying Gaul translates beautifully into its cinematic incarnation with creative camera work and imaginative use of the defining icons of modern life -- cell phones and Internet chat rooms. A tangled web of deception comes vividly to life through three extraordinary performances. Campbell Scott plays Jeffrey, the slick and ruthless studio executive; Peter Sarsgaard is the grieving screenwriter, who is seduced both creatively and emotionally into a Faustian decision; and the inimitable Patricia Clarkson portrays Jeffrey's wife, whose natural curiosity leads her to a discovery that will change their lives forever.

Lucas has honed a precise, interlocking plot that exploits his scalpel-sharp irony. The Dying Gaul will push you to the edge of your seat, simultaneously unnerving you with its complexity and frightening you with its believability.


John Cooper (see other films reviewed by the same reviewer)

Film Takes Pace.