I’d just like to start by telling you something. Closer – recently released to DVD, and starring Jude Law, Clive Owen, Julia Roberts and Natalie Portman – is an adult movie. Not in the sense that it is pornography.
It’s just that it is definitely not a movie for kids.
Closer is a love story at its very core, but it deals with something far more grown-up than simply love. It focuses on the emotional attachment of sex, the crime of adultery, the effects of continued lying, and the repercussions of our own actions.
In the opening scene we see Dan meet Alice, in a chance meeting on the street shortly before Alice is hit by an oncoming taxi, giving this chance meeting cause to turn into a long term relationship. Fast forward a while to Dan getting publicity photos done for a new book he has written, with photographer Anna, whom he then falls in love with, but she rejects his advances.
During a chance encounter on an internet chatroom, and a subsequent practical joke gone horribly right, Anna meets Larry, a doctor, and they enter into a relationship. All is well until Dan comes back on the scene, and the action of this movie moves on from there.
By action, I mean acting. Closer is a very wordy movie – lots of engaging dramatic scenes between our four main characters, and lots of emotional outpourings to take up some of the 100-odd minutes that it runs for.
One thing that surprised me was the language. Closer is definitely a film looking to push the boundary of what is acceptable and what is not. Theres very little nudity (which is to say there is not much more than the average Nelly music video) and no sex scenes, but the words used to describe the people and implied actions are horrific.
I even counted at least 3 c-words amongst the vocal carnage.
The only problem with that is that it put me off the film. Several descriptions of sexual acts (including one explicitly typed out in the aforementioned internet chatroom), as well as the way in which the characters spoke to each other at times was quite distressing.
Language and sexual acts aside, Closer is a very well written and intelligent film, with several exchanges which were laugh-out-loud funny, and several others which were quite engulfing.
Luckily director Mike Nichols also had some heavyweight experience to pull it all off for him. Julia Roberts and Natalie Portman are great as always, but it is Clive Owen who is really worth writing home about. Owen is quickly turning into one of my favourite actors, and has only proven his exceptional talent with this film, and the recent theatrical release Sin City.
If anyone lets the awesome foursome down it is Jude Law. I like Jude as much as anyone, but at times during this piece he seemed whiny and over the top, and ended up looking totally out of his depth.
If that was what he was going for then he achieved it – however, I don’t feel it fitted with the film in general, and certainly didn’t fit to my imagining of the situation he manages to get himself into.
Overall, Closer is charming and witty at times, terribly intelligent at others, and acted out fantastically (with the exception of Jude Law). However, I can understand directors, and artists in general, wanting to push the boundaries of what is acceptable. Its just that I don’t think this is a path it should move down. I give Closer a 5.5 out of 10 – it has many redeeming aspects, but the immorality of the storyline, and the language aspect, ultimately overshadows it.