Thorpe is an enigma, an actor, a counterfeiter. We see him moralising thunderously in the House of Commons and moments afterwards plotting a murder. We see him- with tears and breaking voice- mourning the death of his first wife in front of his parliamentary colleagues and then- turning on a sixpence- picking up the threads of his murder plot. Is there a centre to the man? Is the warmth he can project ever genuine? Is he an affectless killer or is that also an act? When we see him on his own- and apparently expressing emotion- are we glimpsing a private individual or is he still performing to an audience of one?
Norman Scott is Thorpe's opposite- a man of inconvenient feeling- dangerously authentic, compulsively truthful- a man who can't keep his emotion in check- who explodes with it volcanically- and sometimes to the hurt of those around him. He too is a killer- however inadvertently- triggering a girlfriend's suicide with an untimely and inappropriate declaration of his love for Thorpe- and equally self-centred.
The man who is unknowable and the man who is all too knowable: Both of them attractive. Both of them bad news.