6.4/10
3,824
55 user 29 critic

The Comfort of Strangers (1990)

R | | Drama, Thriller | April 1991 (USA)
A couple retreat to Venice to work on their relationship, but an encounter with a stranger leads them into a world of intrigue - where their darkest desires are in reach.

Director:

Paul Schrader

Writers:

Ian McEwan (novel), Harold Pinter (screenplay)

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1 win. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Christopher Walken ... Robert
Rupert Everett ... Colin
Natasha Richardson ... Mary
Helen Mirren ... Caroline
Manfredi Aliquo Manfredi Aliquo ... Concierge
David Ford David Ford ... Waiter
Daniel Franco ... Waiter
Rossana Canghiari Rossana Canghiari ... Hotel Maid
Fabrizio Sergenti Castellani Fabrizio Sergenti Castellani ... Bar Manager (as Fabrizio Castellani)
Mario Cotone Mario Cotone ... Detective
Giancarlo Previati Giancarlo Previati ... First Policeman
Antonio Serrano Antonio Serrano ... Second Policeman
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Storyline

An English couple holiday in Venice to sort out their relationship. There is some friction and distance between them, and we also sense they are being watched. One evening, they lose their way looking for a restaurant, and a stranger invites them to accompany him. He plies them with wine and grotesque stories from his childhood. They leave disoriented, physically ill, and morally repelled. But, next day, when the stranger sees them in the piazza, they accept an invitation to his sumptuous flat. After this visit, the pair find the depth to face questions about each other, only to be drawn back into the mysterious and menacing fantasies of the stranger and his mate. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The appearance of innocence. The heat of desire... See more »

Genres:

Drama | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for obsessive and perverse sexuality | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA | Italy | UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

April 1991 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Cortesie per gli ospiti See more »

Filming Locations:

Italy See more »

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$1,244,381
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Stereo

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Based on the 1981 novel by Ian McEwan. See more »

Quotes

Caroline: I knew that fantasy was passing into reality. Have you ever experienced that? It's like stepping into a mirror.
See more »

Connections

References Rosemary's Baby (1968) See more »

Soundtracks

PER UN BACIO D'AMOR
by Corrado Lojacono and 5 Menestrelli
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User Reviews

 
The "menace" all-star team
19 March 1999 | by ScoopySee all my reviews

Let's think how to put together the all-star team of menace.

We'd have Paul Shrader direct, and he'd never shoot a centered, straight-on angle. The movie would be filled with nearly empty frames, where the actors can be seen only far off to the side, and the scenes would begin with tracking shots through an alley to the characters, as if from a stalker's P.O.V. Doors and windows would open and close near our protagonists, manipulated by unseen hands, for unspoken reasons.

We'd have Harold Pinter write the screenplay, and every line would be pregnant with vague menace. The character's actions would be filled with unexplainable and unexplained malice. People would repeat with gravitas lines that don't seem important. People would tell awful stories about their youth and their excessively stern parents.

We'd locate it in Venice at night, where every corner seems to turn into a deserted and foggy dead end, every street is a waterfront, and there are as many ghosts and echoes as living people.

We'd star Christopher Walken.

Sorry, guys, it's already been done. This is a spooky, creepy movie, well presented by the all-star team. I really found only one flaw. The menace was not left unspoken and threatening. The movie ends with people doing explicit and unspeakably awful things for no reason.

It's one strange movie. Great use of Venice as the backdrop for the story. It is a masterpiece in its own Euro-noir genre. I liked it a lot, but don't expect a typical cinema experience, or a happy ending.


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