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Being fully aware of this film's rather large cult following, I must
nevertheless offer myself as the voice of dissention. I think the
supremely gifted Harold Pinter wrote a diabolically clever
screenplay adaptation, which Paul Schrader directed as if it were
one of his own scripts. The result, to my thinking, is one of the
great missed cinematic opportunities of the1990s. Schrader
(whose intelligent though straight-ahead linear approach has all
the rhythmic subtlety of of a Led Zeppelin concert) could have
easily done a bit of research on Pinter's writing style (which is, by
comparison, like a string quartet by Phillip Glass) but most clearly
couldn't be bothered, very much to the film's ultimate detriment.
Still, Christopher Walken and Helen Mirren are both loads of fun,
I had to watch and read 'The Comfort of Strangers' for film studies and I
must say that though Schrader and the film did what it could to match the
complexities of the book, it didn't completely succeed.
The cast was strong but the casting wasn't - neither Colin nor Mary affected me like they did in McEwan's novel. Rupert Everett is a good actor, but I think he was a little too effeminate for this role. Richardson tried her best to be Mary, but I think she was too soft and dependent. Thumbs up to Robert and Caroline; they lived up to McEwan's characters.
Book better, go read it.
This served as both a tribute to star Natasha Richardson (whose life was tragically cut short last week at just 45 years old) and a belated one in honor of celebrated playwright Harold Pinter (here functioning as a screenwriter adapting somebody else's novel). Considered a psychological thriller although, for the most part, it plays like a drama with erotic undertones my decision to watch it on the day allotted to the former genre certainly paid off given the shocking twist ending. Being set in Venice, it also evoked strong memories of my memorable fortnight's stay there for the 2004 Film Festival. The film is arty and deliberately-paced, but intriguing (if hardly original) and exceedingly well-cast: Christopher Walken (often resorting to hamminess elsewhere, he is quietly chilling here), Richardson (beautiful, obviously talented and truly the image of her mother, Vanessa Redgrave) and Rupert Everett as the couple he ensnares (for kicks) and Helen Mirren as his seemingly reluctant but eventually revealed to be just as ruthless wife/accomplice. Director Schrader, of course, had started off as a writer himself and he wisely leaves the actors (and, by extension, the script) to their own devices. To get back to Richardson's death for a moment, a number of striking parallels are to be found in the film: the central couple are on a vacation (which is what she was doing at the time of her untimely demise), her character has two children (as she did in real-life), and the Walkens intended leaving Venice for Canada (the place of Richardson's fatal skiing accident)!!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Takes a long time for things to get moving in this film, though I wouldn't say that boredom creeps in. In the meantime, we are exposed to somewhat strange, a little pointless, and often illogical dialog. The characterization is unclear and self-contradicting. The forced weirdness gets so out of hand that occasionally ridiculous dialog takes place (like the first meeting with Mirren). The big finale - the big shock - then comes when Walken and Mirren kill their object of adoration, only to immediately follow up this act by slobbering each other in what is meant to represent the height of perversion (not to mention absurdity). At the very end we are then subjected to watching an Italian police interrogation which uses methods which only seem to involve asking stupid questions. The very good cast (Mirren and Walken) saves this movie from a lower rating.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Although the actors do play very well and give a marvellous
performance, I can say that was all the good about it. In fact, I
decided to buy the movie for their sake: Helen Mirren, Rupert Everett,
Natasha Richardson,who are brilliant actors.
Unfortunately, in our country ratings are not always accurate and for this one definitely was not.
It is not simply a thriller, it is horrifying, and brutal, what is more, sick. I believe viewers should be warned in advance because not everybody has the stomach for it. So now I am spoiling it, understandably, and for a good reason. After all it is not a war movie/ a horror movie where you can expect a few throats cut. And that is exactly what you get, all of a sudden, unexpectedly. Without any good reasoning or a message to tell like in other psychologically much better written thrillers.(e.g. The Devil's Advocate) All you read about " The Comfort of Strangers" is how full it is with lust and reviews concentrate on the British couple's relationship, the chilling ( and boring) music, the wonderfully made images ( again way too boring , like a still of a picture sometimes). No mention of the very violent, direct throat-cutting scene in the end.
I actually loved Rupert in it, his character, the way he was willing to do everything for his girl, but I believe he should have put up a good fight at least, not wait for his killing like a lamb. Maybe, we can say it was a nice depiction of British reserve, politeness and endurance, which obviously was in great contrast with the sadistic man's selfish love. But I guess it could have been shown in a different way, in a much better way.
Also, I am not happy it was filmed in Venice. The novel didn't even mention the name of the town, as far as I know originally it was just "somewhere in Europe". Well, I have never been to Venice but after watching this film, I don't think I ever will. And not because of the story. Mostly because of the atmosphere and the feelings that the pictures created in me, the colours, the music, the way it was made. If that was the aim of filming it there, (i.e. decrease the number of tourists visiting Venice), I can say it was definitely achieved in my case so you can count one would-be tourist out. At least for a good few years until I can forget this eerie movie experience...
And for that I am more than sad.
I can't believe I just sat through this whole boring 12 hours (it sure felt that long) waiting for something to happen. I should say first that I watched this during a personal mini marathon of some Walken movies, I rented it on the basis of some good comments in this section and the fact that my local store was out of Prophecy 1&2. I am a very avid fan of his but what a waste this one was! No twitching, no funny expressions, and I'm sorry but basing a character on this from SNL is quite a long shot whoever wrote that. As far as frightening or sick behavior I saw none of these. Sure he was a little sick but it was never fleshed out at all, like how was he sick? Why was he sick? Cause his sisters picked on him? PLEEEEASSE~~ See the VANISHING either version for a much better story in the same vain. For more twisted behavior just watch Americas Most Wanted or any true story on Lifetime. PEACE, time for "KING OF NEW YORK"
What a load of pretentious nonsense!
An odd couple on holiday in Venice meet an even odder couple and they all share their individual and collective dysfunctionality blah, blah, blah.....
The writing is ludicrous and the story mostly ridiculous.
If you ever want to go on a trip to Venice, don't see this film as it is portrayed as a slum and mainly under water, and nothing to do at night but walk around narrow, spooky streets, get lost and if you are lucky enough to find a restaurant, the chef will be off sick anyway.
Now Rupert Everett the male lead in this film has let us know ad nauseum about his "preferences" so what a strange casting as he is meant to be 'straight' but it is clear he has no interest whatsover in his female co-lead and it sure shows.
And others in this picture gush over Rupert as being a "beautiful" man. Personally I find him ugly in the extreme, hideous features, gorky frame,etc.
Still some reasonable photography plus OK music so that lifts it by a mark, hence:
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