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The Comfort of Strangers More at IMDbPro »

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This Is Some Serious Crap

Author: M MALIK from Pakistan
7 April 2016

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

just what in the hell were Christopher Walken & Helen Mirren doing in this junk these two legends just wasted themselves in this junk it was pure embarrassing to see them here.

the direction of this film is nice but where is the script and story its got nothing.

a dumb unmarried couple goes to Venice to travel but their they meet a married couple who traps people.

all the sex scenes this film promises is false there is little bit nudity but no sex this is not a soft core or erotic film at all the poster is misleading.

i like classic films and old films in general but this was trash not all old films are good i was shocked when i searched and found out that this was based on a novel.

the whole film runs on lame dialogs and in the end our main hero gets killed badly end of story.

the moral of the story is don't trust anyone specially random people if you are touring another country.

the only good thing was cinematography some nice locations you can see that's it,the film tries way too hard to connect with audience but fails.

the title of this film is comfort i must say i felt discomfort after viewing this serious crap of nonsense.

i hate this film why so many distributors picked this film up is beyond me its worse then a cheap made for TV film,all the positive reviews are fake this film is boring i am warning everyone here on IMDb if you pick this disc up for rent please return it is a waste of time and money.

The Comfort Of Strangers 1990 is a terrible film avoid it at all costs my rating is 1/10:Avoid It

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A dark, gripping and unsettling Venice

Author: inioi from Spain
1 January 2016

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Sometimes it happens that couples, when the relationship does not work, decide to make a trip as last resort, to see if it can be fixed or to make a decision. However, what happens on the trip becomes unexpected.

The role played by Miranda Richardson and Rupert Everett is a modern, relatively intellectual couple, but within normal range. So far so good. The turning point comes when they meet a weird and unreliable Christopher Walken, and unexpectedly they are influenced by his gloomy talks. Here, as in other Harold Pinter's scripts, lies a subliminal psychological manipulation. The reason why an adult and responsible couple is mysteriously tricked, remains unknown. But the fact is that it seems to be a release of repressed behaviors when in contact with Walken/Mirren.

They enter into a state of unconcern and greater sense of freedom. Still, they try to avoid the presence of Walken, but seems to be a higher power, and inevitably, end up being his guests.

The nightly, intriguing romantic, yet eerie atmosphere is masterfully portrayed by Dante Spinotti's cinematography. This, along The mystery and beauty of Venice will help to generate uncertainty and disturbance about their fate.


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Perils of being a stranger

Author: ereinion from Norway
9 October 2015

The title of this film expresses how it is to be a stranger. Sometimes it can be scary to be in a strange town or city, where you know nobody. Sometimes a friendly face is not to be trusted. This I believe is the real meaning and theme behind this film. There are many perils with being a stranger in a strange place. The couple played by Rupert Everett and Natasha Richardson are about to discover the worst of them.

This film by Paul Schrader was adapted from a novel written by Ian McEwen and written for the screen by no one else but the great Harold Pinter. It is then no surprise that it's such a powerful experience to watch it. Christopher Walken hadn't had so many famous villain parts before this but after this, it would become a trademark. He plays a deeply disturbed and obviously sexually repressed American from a wealthy family who lives in Venice with his fragile wife, played equally great by Helen Mirren. They are childless and live alone in a great mansion-like house. They try to make their life (read: sex life) more exciting by finding interesting tourists they can bring into their house and their bizarre world filled with troubled fantasies. Everett and Richardson make their choice. They are an unmarried couple who are obviously in love, but their relationship is not without problems. She is divorced and has children while he has never had children and is not sure if he fits in with her idea of a husband. To cut the long story short, they meet the odd couple while looking for a restaurant one night and at first they seem to bond with them, especially the fragile wife who confesses to them that she is sometimes afraid or at least wary of her husband and his sado-masochistic tendencies. They quickly decide this is not a good couple to be friends with and return back to their hotel, where they start making love like never before. But the sick couple will not be denied of their prey and eventually, things will escalate to a disturbing finale.

The story is really well crafted and the characters also. It also helps that all four main actors are really capable in bringing them to life. Music by Angelo Badalamenti is excellent and adds more eeriness and suspense to the already eerie and suspenseful film. This is a character drama which is not for the faint-hearted, especially not the last half hour or so, where things really go bananas. It is a dark and disturbing film about a couple that got lost in a strange city and fell into a trap set by a very sick man. It is a rather unhappy film and just as it seems that things are turning the right way, it again spirals down and comes to a tragic end. It is almost like a Greek tragedy. The lesson? Never trust strangers, especially not smiling ones. The irony is that the villains here are strangers themselves, so the title I think refers to them, not the victims. Their comfort is doing what they do, playing with people.

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The 'Pinterisque' Comfort of Strangers

Author: Manal S. from Egypt
12 August 2015

One naturally expects nothing less than that when one watches a Harold Pinter screenplay turned into a film. If you are not familiar with Pinter's plays then you might be with his screenplays The Servant (1963), The French Lieutenant's Woman (1981) and Sleuth (2007). Pinter's most prominent trademark is his ability to render his screenplay adaptations completely independent of their original text. In other words, his Pinterisque touch does not transform but rather creates anew.

The Comfort of Strangers (1990) is based on the Ian McEwan's novel of the same name. Basically, the story is about Colin and Mary, a young couple who travel to Venice on a vacation to think about their future together. In Venice, they encounter an older couple, Robert and Caroline, who eventually turn their vacation and relationship upside down. I do not want to rant about how different Pinter's screenplay is from McEwan's novel. This is a closed deal. What strikes me as supremely beautiful is how Pinter manages to bring to light such psychological intensity and incendiary conflicts using the subtlest language imagined. It is almost like watching poetry in motion if that makes any sense.

It is out of the question that Pinter would not have accomplished that effect without Paul Schrader's exquisite talent, who is a screenwriter himself by the way (does Taxi Driver and Raging Bull ring a bell?). Schrader succeeds in giving Pinter's world the required mystical substance; the long and medium shots of the charming Venice, the camera pauses, the movement of actors, the choice of subliminal music… it all contributes to creating this metaphysical atmosphere felt only in classic paintings. Have you noticed the similarity between shots of Mary and Colin in bed and the paintings adoring the walls of Robert's apartment?… You're welcome.

The gender and power conflict that takes place in this kind of world is all symbolic and is expressed in allusions rather than direct words. Colin, played to good effect by Rupert Everett, is meant to be beautiful in picturesque way akin to that of Greek statues. His beautiful masculinity is to be contrasted with Robert's (played by the genius Christopher Walken) grotesque masculinity. Same can be said about Mary (Natasha Richardson) and Caroline (Helen Mirren) who represents two different aspects of femininity: passivity and servitude. The encounter between the young couple and their older counterparts might seem a little bit awkward in realistic narrative terms. Like seriously, who would go sleep at a strangers' house and let them take their clothes away? However, in symbolic terms, this confrontation is necessary to highlight the gender fluidity and power conflict in any relationship. Robert and Caroline are the distorted mirror that Colin and Mary see themselves into. They see the dark side of who they are and their future demise. The image they see in the mirror terrifies them and subconsciously pushes them to change to the opposite – to exchange roles. Colin sees in Robert the extreme end of masculinity and power he has been trying to practice on Mary. He becomes threatened and retreats to his beautiful, feminine self (something that Caroline and later Mary keeps referring to). Similarly, Mary sees in Caroline the extreme end of her docility and indecisiveness. She also becomes threatened and embraces her masculine self. This subversion of roles is quite evident in Colin and Mary's later sexual encounters and fantasies.

Whether this change was necessary or not and whether it has been brought about by the wrong catalyst (Robert and Caroline) or not are all questions Pinter leaves us with to ponder on. I do not care about the answers of those questions as much as I care about how enlightening and fascination watching this film has been.

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Stunning, erotic, confusing

Author: Gino Cox from United States
10 July 2015

"The Comfort of Strangers" is a beautiful film and has aged well in the twenty-five years since its production. The pace is a little slow by contemporary standards with leisurely transitions. Action choreography and special effects are slightly dated. However, it still feels like cinema. The acting is solid, particularly by Walken, whose character is complex.

The film is a bit difficult to classify. Various authors, including McKee, Snyder and Hicks have proposed taxonomies of film genres. Snyder's list of ten story types is probably the most easily accessible for novices. TCoS doesn't quite fit into any of his categories, although it has elements of Monster in the House, The Golden Fleece and Buddy Love, with a touch of Whydunit. This is the weakness in TCoS. The structure doesn't fit our expectations either at the broad level suggested by Snyder or at more detailed levels suggested by Joseph Campbell or by dramatica theory.

Walken plays a conflicted character who is supremely comfortable in his own skin, even as he relates amusing tales of a troubled childhood. The film has homoerotic and sadomasochistic undertones but they aren't explored sufficiently to allow the audience to understand how they relate to the story or motivate the characters. While Walken's character is complex and intriguing, his actions seem contrived rather than grounded in a clearly defined psychological makeup.

The climax is surprising and shocking, but doesn't feel as if it fits the logical progression of prior scenes. It needs more interaction between the two couples.

The film is like a ride through the country in an open convertible. The journey is pleasant and filled with interesting sights and experiences, but it doesn't really lead you to where you want to be.

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Walken At His Most Vampiric

Author: imnotjohncandy from New Zealand
13 April 2014

This movie is a very good example of Walken at his most vampiric, it is titled The Comfort Of Strangers and it is based on a short novel by Ian McEwan. Paul Schrader is the director of this movie, he also directed one of my favorite movies the 1982 remake of Cat People.

You know that classic fairy tale about the two human children who were orphans and went off into the woods only to be lured to a candy house by a witch who fattened them up? Well this movie is what you might call a modern version of that story.

Our two leads are a British couple played by Rupert Everett - (who you might know as Dr Claw in the live action Inspector Gadget movie and the voice of Prince Charming in the Shrek franchise) and the late Natasha Richardson.

Both of them are vacationing in the lovely town of Venice, it is explained that the two of them want to revitalize their relationship, when going through town one night they lose their way and wind up at a restaurant and that is when they encounter the owner Robert (Walken).

They are taken to the house of Robert and his wife Caroline (Helen Mirren) and they stay there for the night - but what they don't know is that both of them have really dark and horrible secrets and aren't what they seem.

Robert seems to be obsessed with his past among other things..and is quite mentally unhealthy despite being quite a seemingly nice person, he also is a bit suspect over the power females have over males.

The British couple are repulsed and attracted to them at the same time, as time goes by Robert draws them in more and more into his influence.

It seems that the couple are unable to escape him and his he continues to draw them in.

As a side note Walken gained 20lbs for his role as Robert - and this is the only time you'll see Walken with a slightly hefty body type. The director wanted to have Walken in the shadows to make him look more evil but in Walken's own words: "I don't need to be made to look evil...I can do that on my own."

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Elegance and suppressed passion in erotic film noir

Author: eschetic-2 from Bolton, Ct./Jersey City, NJ; United States
25 July 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

A first tier cast make it difficult to turn away from this erotic thriller even when the fate of the young lovers starts to unravel and the audience can clearly see that it is time to flee the beautifully filmed Venice half way through the film.

Lovers not yet committed to marriage but clearly moving in that direction (the equally beautiful Natasha Richardson and Rupert Everett) have returned to a Venice they have been enchanted with before for an extended vacation without her children. Director Schrader (rather better known as a screenwriter than a director despite the sure hand shown here) lets the audience in early in the film that someone is watching them - or more specifically Everett - for unrevealed reasons. The "photo from a different angle" gimmick almost leads us to expect a James-Bond-style action/spy thriller that never develops. What THE BIRTHDAY PARTY and THE CARETAKER playwright/screenwriter Harold Pinter has in mind is something much subtler.

One late night when the pair becomes lost returning to their hotel, the natural tension of deserted streets in an exotic locale is ratcheted UP rather than relieved when the surface-suave Christopher Walken offers them the temporary "kindness of a stranger" in the shelter of a late night bar and some decidedly off-putting stories of his youth.

This passing acquaintance grows in its dark over and undertones with a later invitation to his villa when Richardson appears ill when they next meet (an erotic high point at the villa) - an invitation which extends to dinner and the involvement of Walken's supposedly infirm wife (Mirren) who appears to hold a secret to the nature of her husband.

Mr. Walken may, in fact, be physically incapable of playing a non-threatening character. This is a persona no innocent would turn to for help, and it works without any effort on actor or director's part to build the tension - possibly too well since, try as we may to find innocent explanations for the questions Pinter and Schrader raise, our suspicions make us less trusting than Richardson or Everett's characters - even before it is in the best interests of the film's developing story.

Walken and Mirren's revelations late in the film justify the noir conclusion the audience has clearly seen coming for most of the film, and any audience well enough educated to be aware of the intimate relationship (however rightfully un-PC) of sex and violence dating back to the Roman Amphitheater will find no surprise or lack of credibility in the final denouement, but credibility does not necessarily equate to satisfaction. As polished and chilling as Schrader and Pinter's COMFORT OF STRANGERS is, it is not ultimately satisfying - but fans of the cast, the writer or director OR the City of Venice may well want to go back for second and third helpings for all are served well despite the curdled final curtain. But for the casting of Walken and the awkward play-out of the final scene, this may well be Pinter's best, subtlest work to date.

Not satisfying by any means (as Harold Prince's far lighter but still commercially failed black comedy SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE with Angela Lansbury and Michael York is), but fascinating and well worth the sampling for what is there. It's a near miss to stand proudly with director Schrader's earlier best work on American GIGOLO - from his own screenplay.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:


Author: ( from Netherlands
6 October 2013

Yesterday (why?) The Comfort of Strangers seen again. A remarkable film , but not a good one. A couple on holiday in Venice to perpetuate their relationship met a brutal man and his enigmatic wife . Rupert Everett is the husband of the couple who made ​​more like his looks rather than his wife and certainly less put on her children . Natasha Richardson - his wife - doing a half-hearted attempt to deepen the relationship. There is no connection and no sex. Until they meet the character of Christopher Walken. Repel them are intrusive behavior and attracts them. Walken is the key to new passion ?

The powerful memory I had of the film was in a scene where Walken gives Everett unprovoked a hard punch in the stomach. Everett responding (also) this lethargic . Walken gives him a wink after the stump. This scene is still the best of the film. Walken acts pleasant unfathomable. His expression is attractive false. Walken carries the film to pose. His character - despite bizarre stories about his past - is superficial . The rest of the cast ( Helen Mirren is Walkens woman ) seems to do exactly what the script is . No subtle additions in the game.

Director Paul Schrader will have stood for. Schrader at the top of his fame during production was/is known for its powerplay. It has earned him eternal fame as a writer of the scrips Taxi Driver and Raging Bull. In The Comfort of Strangers, he 's tight rein. So tight that even particularly Everett Richardson and insecure on the set seem to be . "So, and not otherwise ," will have Schrader called . It provides for stiff game in a story of the subtleties must have correct.

The result is that the crises of the couple does not last and that you wait until Walken again comes into picture. Stock photography Dante Spinotti is beautiful and the pleasant retro look back. The score of Angelo Badalamenti 's trying the audience's attention to keep. It does not help. The Comfort of Strangers in the year 2013 is just a nostalgic experience.

Jac. de Wit,

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2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Brilliant movie, not for the squeamish!

Author: philiponel
21 November 2000

What I loved about this movie is that the viewer never knows all the way until the end how it is going to turn out! If you are squeamish, avoid this movie. Rupert Everett and Natasha Richardson holiday in Venice to save their relationship. By accident, they run into a rather quirky pair played by Christopher Walken and Helen Mirren. As the movie progresses, they find out some strange things about these two. Venice provides a beautiful and alluring backdrop to allow this fascinating drama to unfold. Lesson: Never be too polite to strangers!

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3 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Mysterious and wicked

Author: CandyR from North Carolina
18 November 1998

I could not help but thinking of the old children's story of Hansel and Gretel. This time, Hansel and Gretel are grown up and get lost in Venice - the witch - being played chillingly by Christopher Walken as "Robert" - a rather strange man who lures the couple to dine with him and then later to stay at his house. You will notice that Robert always has one hand in his pocket. Very mysterious and wicked.

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