Monday, January 24, 2005


It was Golden Globe weekend at the cinema for me and Holly, as we caught up on all those films that lit up the Foreign Press Association.

First up was Mike Nichols brutal study of relationships, 'Closer'. This is a movie that draws mainly on raw emotion. Relationships, in my opinion, are rarely like the endless stream of hollywood romances we see from across the pond. When they end, they do not end amicably; they are harsh, raw and destructive. What we do to keep doomed relationships going can be deceptive and malicious.

Closer deals with the reality of men and women. The ease at which people find themselves deceiving those they love; the obsession men have with the question "was he better in bed than me?"; and the endless need that some have for revenge.

Central to the plot are four characters played by Natalie Portman, Jude Law, Julia Roberts and Clive Owen. Obituary writer Dan (Law) has fallen for photographer Anna (Roberts) and seems unperturbed by the small matter of his girlfriend, former stripper, Alice (Portman). Things become more complicated after Dan accidentally sets up Anna with Larry (Owen), a Doctor with a penchant for adult chat rooms.

Through the excellent performances of the actors, and some superbly scripted dialogue you get a sense of chemistry that only exists in real relationships. The four only share one scene in the entire movie, and its a superb set-play of emotions, with each character hiding something from the others.

Despite, Jude Law and Julia Roberts being first billed, their performances are outstripped by the truly wonderful Portman and Owen. I really believed Portman had missed her chance after a string of terrible roles, however, the little girl from Leon acts with such maturity that it is easy to forget about those embarrassing Star Wars movies. Clive Owen meanwhile, continues his rise to stardom. I was spared his performance in King Arthur, so can happily say that the British actor has quickly become a favourite of mine. His dark and perverse role in Croupier is mirrored here as the sensitive soul lost in a manipulative mans body.

The stream of profanity may not be everyones cup of tea, but in a movie that spends a great deal of time talking about sex, it was pleasing to find that there wasn't a single sex scene in it. Great film, Portman and Owen fully deserve their Golden Globes and I sincerely hope this sleeper movie gets a chance in the Oscars.

Closer: 8.5/10

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