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Criticisms of 'Attraction' have stemmed from the threatening nature of these relationships as well as the obscure motivation of the main characters. There's no denying that the element of sexual stalking, of seeing women as prey or prizes, is an aspect of the drama to which in these PC-times one might take exception. The sleazy Matthew, aggressively self-centered and at times violent, is a hero to whom the audience's response is at best ambivalent, at worst outright condemnatory. Only at the end of the film does he elicit any real sympathy. Other characters fare only slightly better. Liz, once Matthew's girl, may be the victim of his unwarranted attentions, but her allegiance in love is shallow and eventually revealed as transitory. She does not deserve the experiences she undergoes, but her sexual weakness for her former boyfriend is a contributory factor to her woes. Garrett, first seen as Liz's white knight, eventually proves more similar to Matthew than we think. This becomes apparent first as he stalks' him and his new girlfriend, sneering `How do you like being followed?'. The most upright of the four leads is Corey: her initial confusion and doubt as she shyly seeks Liz's permission to see Matthew is genuine, and provokes our most positive response. But as she in turn eventually stalks' Garrett, causing his accident, we too have doubts about the purity of her motives.
What drives all four characters, of course, is attraction'. The problem the film has is that this motivation is hardly ever put into words, let alone discussed. This absence of meaningful dialogue (as opposed to the angst ridden complaints of the stalked and lovesick) means that the audience is left to fill the blanks by itself. What exactly Matthew sees in Liz, or Liz in Garrett, Corey in Matthew, Matthew in Corey and so on, is left unexplained in detail. Rationale, where there is any, is given glibly: `It's like he's an alcoholic and you're a vodka martini' says Garrett of Liz's continuing attraction for her ex. Or, it is shown through mindless acts of sexual frustration, as when Matthew smashes the window outside Liz's door. This vacuum of the heart is most apparent in the key scene in the film, when Corey appears nude on stage, watched by all three of the principals. Corey's exposure to the world is physical, more than expressed in words. As she literally bares her all' she has nothing really interesting to say. Garrett is content to cough and laugh, Matthew gets violent and Liz sits in acute embarrassment. Even after the traumatic event Corey does not spend time in any self-examination, save to express brief dismay and shock. Aptly strobed like a projection through a slow shutter her previous nude performance, and its inadequate reception, can be seen as the essence of the film in microcosm.
If one can accept this limitation at the film's core, then it has much to offer. In some ways the lack of emotional communication may even be a strength. Matthew is a deliberately ambivalent character, played excellently by Settle. An indication of this is the interview between him and an unknown questioner, played out in extract as the film proceeds. How we view Matthew is reflected in how we take the immediate, dramatic, context of his talking. Is he being interrogated by police, after some terrible crime yet to be shown, or just explaining away obsessions to the curious? Or is he just taking part in some media event related to his job? The reappearance of the scene, as a smiling Matthew introduces and describes himself, forces us each time to reassess him in view of what we have just seen in the plot's real time'. In fact, much of the interest and tension in the film stems from Matthew and Garrett, whose motivations are unclear.
Attraction' is a film full of such ironies, whether it is Corey nude on stage revealing' nothing, the mirrored stalkings of Matthew, Garrett, and then Corey, or Matthew's final predicament. As a circular tale of obsessive behaviour it works neatly, helped along by DeGrazier's flashy direction, and is produced exactly to the right sort of scale such a taut story requires. Settle has a face which reminds one slightly of Tom Cruise while Mol tries a touch of Cameron Diaz. Had such high powered stars actually been available with a bigger budget, the whole thing would probably been less satisfactory. All in all, it's recommendable, and there's much worse things sitting on the video shelf.
This said, I thought the ending was poor. My wife and I thought that the script had written itself into a corner, and the ending really showed this. I think a good dose of ambiguity would have better served the conclusion.
Smoothly done and fast paced with a good cast headed by Settle.
Which was the case with me. I've never heard of this movie before tonight and knew less than nothing about it. At first, I rented it because I saw that it was a movie that had Gretchen Mol in it (A highly under-rated actress; in my opinion -and missed in the casting of many films she would be great in); not to mention quite stunning.
ANYWAY, didn't mean to get off the track. This movie surprised me on several occasions during its course. It was created to be slow-paced as to boast its intriguing plot, acting, and direction. I don't think I would have enjoyed it as much if I had talked to my brother before-hand; in that he often tells me things that happen in movies.
A very good film - 9/10 stars thank you
Matthew ("Gossip Girl") Settle plays, er, Matthew, an advice columnist for a weekly tabloid as well as host of a call-in radio show, who spends his copious amounts of free time stalking his ex-girlfriend Liz (Gretchen Mol). After a violent confrontation at Liz's apartment, Matthew goes to a bar where he just happens to bump into Liz's good friend, Corey (Samantha Mathis), a struggling actress. More interested in upsetting Liz than pursuing a new relationship, Matt seduces Corey. Meanwhile, Matthew's editor Garrett (Tom Everett Scott) has hooked up with Liz and decides to stalk Matthew to see how he likes it (hint: he doesn't). Good thing Matt does most of his work at home, otherwise all this stalking might create some problems at the workplace.
Things ultimately go too far, as things often do in these sort of movies, but by then we've stopped caring. After a third act reveal that's more WTF? than OMG!, "Attraction" rushes to a finish that leaves you shrugging your shoulders.
Many of the problems with "Attraction" stem from the fact that most of the characters are fairly uninteresting. Only Corey seems remotely likable, and she's really little more than a pawn in a larger game. Another large problem, I think, is telling the story mostly from Matt's point of view, rendering him less a threat than an annoyance. If told more from Liz's perspective—provided Liz was made a more compelling character—"Attraction" could've packed more of a punch. Further dulling the movie's impact are scenes of Matthew explaining his feelings to an off-camera interviewer. Supposedly other character interviews were meant to be included as well but were cut for pacing; if only Matthew's interviews had joined the others on the cutting room floor.
Ultimately, about the only reason to watch this movie would be to see Settle and Mathis naked, but thanks to the Internet even celebrity nudity is not reason enough to sit through "Attraction."
I think I can safely say without spoiling the story that `Attraction's' story line is entirely focused on delivering `surprising' plot twists. Unfortunately, these twists and turns only come as non-sequiturs, because the character development (non existent), plot (if you can call it that) and dialogue (embarrassing) do *NOTHING* to support the `twists' that are supposed to surprise (rather than confuse) the viewer. Ham-fisted doesn't even begin to describe the ensuing on-screen mess.
Furthermore, the characters are so bland and come off as so many cookie-cutter, self-absorbed Gen-Xers that the viewer is left with no one to identify with, or any character to anchor what takes place on screen.
In the end, `Attraction' comes off as two hours documenting meaningless characters as they behave in completely random fashion.
The crazy world of relationships, who loves who, jealousy and revenge is all part and parcel of this thriller.
It was well acted and had plenty to keep me interested in the story, however the ending was rather sharp, sort of "oh, that's the end then?". You are left to work it out for yourself, although it's not difficult!