The Dying Gaul

Director: Craig Lucas
Screenwriters: Craig Lucas

Institute History

  • 2005 Sundance Film Festival


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

Screening Details

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