The story follows a married couple, apart for a night while the husband takes a business trip with a colleague to whom he's attracted to. While he's resisting temptation, his wife encounters her past love.
A ballet dancer wins the lead in "Swan Lake" and is perfect for the role of the delicate White Swan - Princess Odette - but slowly loses her mind as she becomes more and more like Odile, the Black Swan.
Smart-but-ineffectual journalist Dan "We use euphemisms!" cannot decide between his girlfriend, loving-but-clingy waitress Alice, or his lover cold-but-intellectual photographer Anna; herself indecisive between Dan and honest-but-thuggish "You're bloody gorgeous!" doctor Larry. The film, as Tarantino might put it, puts the four leading characters in a box and strips them apart. Written by
I won't reveal what ultimately happens in Closer but I will confess that I was disappointed that it didn't end with a fiery double-decker bus crash that left no survivors. This film would have been stale 20 years ago, but it's completely ridiculous now. The "truths" about relationships that the movie attempts to reveal are just nuggets of stereotypical nonsense that you could see in a TV movie(Men thrive on conquest and dominance, Women can't resist being treated like whores, etc.). The film, like it's characters is shallow and dishonest underneath the pretty exterior.
Of the four main actors, Natalie Portman fairs the best. I didn't buy her character, but I didn't want to beat her with a lead pipe either. The other actors aren't so lucky. Clive Owen is in total stage actor mode. I have long suspected that Julia Roberts is actually computer generated or a state of the art robot and this film offers more compelling evidence in support of my theory. Jude Law is a total non-presence here which is a shame because he shows hints of charisma in other films.
I am absolutely dumbfounded by claims that this movie is in any way truthful, real or gritty. It's incredibly stagey and the dialog in no way resembles the way people talk when they're not performing on stage. I thought Neil Labute's The shape of Things was a low water mark that no film adaptation of a play could surpass in awfulness. Not the case. I am intrigued yet horrified that this film seems to resonate with a large chunk of viewers. The characters are total constructs: the Arbus rip-off photographer, the duplicitous writer, the educated yet primitive doctor, the wise stripper.
Maybe the film is realistic in the same way that Iraq was full of WMDs and privatization will solve the country's social security "problem". The real truth seems to be that most folks aren't interested in reality. It doesn't look like four pretty people in London.
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