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The Comfort of Strangers
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Reviews & Ratings for
The Comfort of Strangers More at IMDbPro »

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6 out of 12 people found the following review useful:

So Bad It's Good

Author: jervistetch
24 May 2008

This is one of those movies like "Mommie Dearest" that, after the first viewing, you're not sure that you could have possibly seen what you think you saw. It's so over the top that you need to shower afterward. And then, for some twisted reason, you watch it again and you start to like it. Everything about it is preposterous (though, Venice looks cool). Natasha Richardson and Rupert Everett play, perhaps, the dullest couple to ever grace the screen. It is impossible to care about, or even understand, the emotional quandary they're going through. Helen Mirren is completely insane, but nothing can prepare you for the vintage, bravura Walken performance. His monologue about his father (that he delivers more than once in a dubious Italian accent) is a zenith in the Hammy Hall of Fame. Seek out someone else that has seen it and recite that monologue to each other in a bad Italian dialect and you will seldom in your life laugh harder. Rent (or buy, as I have) quickly and brace yourself.

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6 out of 12 people found the following review useful:


Author: francofile02
2 June 2005

Still trying to figure out the point of this movie. The cast, setting and music were all the best that can be had, but the dialogue was as stilted as Mamet on a bad day, there was zero chemistry between Everett and Richardson, and Walken and Mirren were stuck in silly, unfathomable roles. I don't mind talky movies with slow dénouement but this didn't even have the merit of shedding light on human nature's dark spots. It amounted to a lurid headline with no information in the report. Why do Walken's and Mirren's characters act the way they do? I didn't even care enough about Everett's and Richardson's characters' relationship to wonder why it went from lukewarm to supercharged overnight and then back to lukewarm. Their relationship reminded me of Sheltering Sky - puzzling and sad, but not worthy of much interest. So I'm back to my initial question: what was the point?

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7 out of 14 people found the following review useful:

This is a film that people who loved BLOWUP would like.

Author: Peter22060 from United States
16 November 2002

The plot of this film without disclosing any details can be summed up with your Mother's admonition to you as a pre-teen: "Never Talk to Strangers!"

If you ever wondered, "Why Not?", see this movie for a possible answer.

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8 out of 16 people found the following review useful:

A Movie That Should Never Have Been Made

Author: Eyal Allweil from Tel Aviv, Israel
31 August 2000

It's obvious that talent and effort went into the making of "The Comfort Of Strangers." It lovely photographing of Venice, the ominous atmosphere is well done, the acting is good, and it just seems so – well, pretty. The million-dollar question is, why? Is it supposed to be entertainment? It doesn't feel that way. And a good thing, too, because despite the tension, despite the suspense – the movie is too slow, too boring. I LIKE slow, psychological movies. But I couldn't help looking hopefully at my watch, over and over again. If you're after entertainment, watch something entertaining, watch something gratifying. No, `The Comfort of Strangers' feels like an art house movie. And despite my respect for artistic privilege, for self-expression – why make this movie? I disagree with the other reviews – this movie has nothing behind it, nothing. Is it aiming at realism? I hope not. Sure, much of the plot is conceivable. And a movie doesn't have to overtly portray its characters' motivations in order for the audience to believe that their behavior is legitimate – but that believability is a must. Much of this movie just appears ridiculous and gratuitous. Unconvincing. Things happen just because. A mix of realism and absurdity, perhaps? Let's assume so. But to what ends, what is being expressed, why? A comment on the English perhaps, or on Italians? On men, maybe? On life? On love? Don't expect anything sophisticated. Someone described this movie as confusing. It only becomes confusing if you assume, a priori, that because so much effort was put into it, it DOES has some sort of meaning, and try to understand what it is. But all it is is a mish-mash of themes whose sum, regretfully, is infinitesimal. What this movie does do, and do well, is shock you. But in a bad way. You know something terrible is going to happen, but you don't expect it to be so ridiculously unwarrantable. You assume that it will add some sort of coherence, significance, something at all, to everything that has preceded it. But exactly the opposite happens. Credibility is destroyed, and to make things worse, the movie goes on, dragging itself on and on, as if a renewed declaration of its insensibility is going to make things better, make you accept it as some sort of whole. It doesn't. You don't need to hear the policeman ask why – you are already asking a different question. Why has this movie been made?

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

No comfort

Author: begob from The Undertow
4 September 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

A young couple returns to Venice to rekindle their passion, but their fate lies in the hands of an old couple with malice in their hearts ...

I've seen this many times and always thought it a great film. The story is adapted from McEwan, but I think he stole it from Don't Look Now, which is based on Du Maurier's short story.

Four actors playing their parts brilliantly. Richardson is great as the middle class optimist, Walken is nicely sociopath, and Everett plays the weak narcissist. But the whole thing comes together with Helen Mirren's speech about women's play acting.

Score by Badalamenti is amazing. Location amazing. And the ending is so cruel - this is a horror film, because it takes you through the looking glass to a world where malevolence rules and there's nothing you can do about it.

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1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Exceptional in setting and personages

Author: anonymous from Amsterdam
27 January 1999

One to see if you feel like a good, psychological character-based movie. Straight in your mind, a shot of disgust, beauty and affection combined. The setting is one to go to, the people are interesting and very real and yes; what can you say? Christopher W tells you he's one to watch. The story gives you a blow of inspiration and tells you what the extremes are of the society we live in ...

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2 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Paranoid fantasies

Author: Nat Ehrlich from United States
31 May 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This film is beautifully made and well acted and scripted, but nonetheless I can't recommend it too highly because it is emblematic of the paranoia which is so prevalent in today's world. One gets to thinking that everything must end badly. Waiting around to see which of the protagonists will be killed, wondering IF there will be a killing, one is fascinated by the mystery, but it's a feeling similar to that of driving by an accident site and averting one's eyes...and at the same time, not averting one's eyes totally. Did it really happen? The brutality, suddenness, and finality of the murder that does take place, mixed with the ambiguity of time and person that pervades this film, makes it a memorable, and disturbing, experience.

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3 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

no idea what its about, but you know you have watched it.

Author: grunsel from United Kingdom
4 October 2002

This well made movie just twists and turns you around the dark alleys of the mind, much like the location of Venice in which it is set. Havent a clue what it about, but it prods a few raw nerves and gives you the corresponding jolts.

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5 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

A powerful mix

Author: edpetrus from San Francisco
25 December 2001

This is probably Walken's best performance ever. His character takes center stage. A complex personality leavened by the yeast of sadism.

Sexual dominance is his preferred game .. how will the unsuspecting English couple fare?

The setting is Venice, the music is moorish. The mix is powerful.

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0 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

entertaining but not good enough for the novel

Author: karcat_2003 from Mexico
26 August 2005

A good film a nice one to keep you entertained. I must admit that after reading Ian Mc Ewan's book I was really keen on watching the film. However after doing it I was somehow disappointed. Although the story is not badly adapted and the performances and cinematography are good as well I couldn't perceive in any moment the sadomasochistic relationships skilfully described in Mc Ewan's novel that made of it a thrilling story full of suspense and unexpected situations. On the contrary the story seems lighter than it is actually. Anyway the performances and the beautiful landscapes of Venice are some of the elements that make of it an enjoyable film.

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