Sting Can Act. We're Shocked. Yawn

ATN Toronto correspondent Margaret Bream is attending the Toronto

International Film Festival. She reports: Anyone out there still think Sting

can't act? In a new film now screening at

the 20th annual Toronto International Film Festival, the British rocker turns

in a four-star performance as a butler who will stop at nothing to get his

own creepy way -- including gay sex. The movie is titled The

Grotesque, and in it Sting plays the phlegmatic

Fledge, the new man hired to restore order to a crumbling 500-year-old

mansion on the British moors. Once the new butler shows up with his

dipsomaniac wife, though, the mansion becomes the setting for murder and

madness. And as with many a murder mystery, sex -- both straight and gay --

is at the heart of the mayhem. Seems the butler is serving the mistress of

the house in a way she hadn't counted on when she hired him. And then there's

the matter of Fledge's affair with the young man who goes missing -- it makes

the Chili Peppers' MTV smooch seem tame. In a role he seems born to play,

Sting is completely believable as the

malevolent, scheming butler with murder in his heart. With a single arch of

his eyebrow he conveys more sneering 'tude for the British gentry than seems

possible. While the movie, which stars the brilliant Alan Bates as lord of

the manor, is unrelentingly dark, Sting shines.