6.4/10
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51 user 26 critic

The Comfort of Strangers (1990)

R | | Drama, Thriller | April 1991 (USA)
An English couple holiday in Venice to sort out their relationship. There is some friction and distance between them, and we also sense they are being watched. One evening, they lose their ... See full summary »

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(novel), (screenplay)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
...
...
Manfredi Aliquo ...
Concierge
David Ford ...
Waiter
...
Waiter
Rossana Canghiari ...
Hotel Maid
Fabrezio Sergenti Castellani ...
Bar Manager (as Fabrizio Castellani)
Mario Cotone ...
Detective
Giancarlo Previati ...
First Policeman
Antonio Serrano ...
Second Policeman
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Storyline

An English couple holiday in Venice to sort out their relationship. There is some friction and distance between them, and we also sense they are being watched. One evening, they lose their way looking for a restaurant, and a stranger invites them to accompany him. He plies them with wine and grotesque stories from his childhood. They leave disoriented, physically ill, and morally repelled. But, next day, when the stranger sees them in the piazza, they accept an invitation to his sumptuous flat. After this visit, the pair find the depth to face questions about each other, only to be drawn back into the mysterious and menacing fantasies of the stranger and his mate. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The appearance of innocence. The heat of desire... See more »

Genres:

Drama | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for obsessive and perverse sexuality | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

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Language:

Release Date:

April 1991 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Cortesie per gli ospiti  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Gross:

$1,244,381 (USA)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Christopher Walken said in an interview that he kept the clothes he wore in this movie designed by Georgio Armani. See more »

Quotes

Caroline: I knew that fantasy was passing into reality. Have you ever experienced that? It's like stepping into a mirror.
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Connections

References Don't Look Now (1973) See more »

Soundtracks

PER UN BACIO D'AMOR
by Corrado Lojacono and 5 Menestrelli
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User Reviews

Chilling...
5 September 1999 | by (Rotterdam, The Netherlands) – See all my reviews

This Paul Shrader movie is a 'must see' for anyone who's enjoyed 'Don't look now' by Nicholas Roeg. Once again we're back in Venice where decadence, decay and danger seem to lurk in every ill-lit corner. Just barely hiding from our eyes, but omni-present in the atmosphere.

We see Colin and Mary, a not-so-young and not-so-happy couple that have come back to Venice to decide whether or not to continue their relationship. The only plausible question to that answer seems to be a sound NO, until they meet Robert and Helen, an older couple living in a palazzo at the Grand Canal. Robert and Helen are weird, to say the least. Their marriage being a perverted mixture of violence and lust. Robert (Christopher Walken) could be a character from a James Purdy novel: a closeted mucho macho gay man who can only satisfy his need to be physically close to another man through violence. Masochistic Helen is not at all the victim she seems to be.

But who are the real perverts here? The clearly kinky older couple or their younger 'friends', that can't seem to stop having sex after their unsettling encounters? No need to tell that there can be no happy ending to this tale.

The Comfort of Strangers is a work of art. The chilling atmosphere is tangible, the characters are very convincing, the dialogue by Harold Pinter is multi-layered and the plot is slowly moving to its inevitable conclusion without the interference of a weak-hearted writer.

It makes you think about the million different methods people use to keep their lovelives alive. The movie also is a very brutal way of saying that nothing in life comes for free. By exaggerating the price Colin and Mary have to pay, Shrader seems to make us want to think about the more ordinary prices we pay in matters of fidelity, lust and love.


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