Closer: a review

(Stumbled upon this review of Closer, and realised that I hadn’t posted mine on ze blog (even the old one), though it is up on Motif, here. I think this was the second time I attempted to seriously review a film, and it is the only one I like. Heh, so much so that if I hadn’t seen my name there, I would have thought it was someone elses. I wrote the following on Feb 17th)

Closer is as much about love and madness as it is about sex and madness. Madness, when applied to love and sex, often culminates in deceit, which is the driving force behind changes in the lives of the characters played by Jude Law, Natalie Portman, Julia Roberts and Clive Owen.

The movie is set in contemporary London, and it all begins with a car hitting Alice the stripper (Portman), who has run away from New York, and the struggling writer called Dan (Jude Law) who writes epiphany studded obituaries for a living, taking her to the hospital. A year on, while he is still with Alice, Dan�s advances are rejected by Anna (Julia Roberts), a photographer who hangs out at the Aquarium. Dan, posing as Anna, and with mischief on his mind, sends a sex-crazed dermatologist, Larry (Clive Owen), via Internet sex chat, to meet Anna at the Aquarium. As luck would have it, Dan ends up being named �cupid� by the two.

Clich�d, you�d say, but the way things progress from there on, is a series of fallings-over in love or sex; the protagonists cant seem to decide which. There are times when, to the viewer who puts his movie stars on a high pedestal, the movie seems crude. The sex chat with the dermatologist, the fights among lovers while breaking up, the reasons for making up � all are explicit and full of references, often colloquial, to private parts. It�s as if Julia Roberts, Natalie Portman and Jude Law decided to step down from their high pedestals, smack you in the balls and sneer �I�m also human, you prude.�

The acting, as expected, is seamless. Particularly memorable are the performances of Clive Owen as the vain and deceitful dermatologist with caveman urges, and Jude Law as the smooth-talking charmer who can’t make up his mind, and keeps messing up: he is always sorry about something. Natalie Portman, though, doesn�t fit the bill of a wild child. And as much as she might try and tease in the strip bar scenes, she is too much in the Winona Ryder mould. Free, yes. Wild, no. She is direct and trusting, but not deceitful; has childlike honesty, which sets her apart from all the other characters in the film.

Closer isn�t for younger audiences, rated �R�. Someone I know labelled it �almost-semi-porn�. It could well have been titled Closure, because that�s what that�s what the protagonists keep seeking; yet avoiding it all the time. There is no mercy for the frail. But if you look beyond the sex talk and the sex, (I know, I know, its hard but do try and think of someone ugly like the Grinch), you�ll find that the story has more flip-flops than a register circuit, and you�re hooked because you want to know what happens next, and who�s lying and who�s not. The movie begins with a stumble, and ends with one. Too many questions asked, the women would say. Too many questions.


Which brings me this- how did you chance upon it today, Jai? Same route? Co-incidence?

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