Closer

"Bad"

Closer Review


Love and romance are tough stuff. Leave it to Mike Nichols and his adaptation of the callous play Closer to make it even tougher.

The setup holds promise: Four characters in dreary London couple and de-couple, falling in and out of relationships over a four year span. The story is told piecemeal, as it focuses on brief events in the couples' lives, separated by months or years. It begins as American stripper Alice (Natalie Portman) meets British obituary writer Dan (Jude Law) by happenstance. A year later, Dan encounters photographer Anna (Julia Roberts), whom he immediately begins to lust after. Later, Dan plays an internet prank on dermatologist Larry (Clive Owen), which unexpectedly sends him into the arms of Anna. They marry, and Anna promptly starts an affair with Dan. Dan confesses to Alice, she becomes a stripper again. Anna confesses to Larry, and she leaves him, sending Dan to Alice for the first time. And round and round we go until everyone's had a shot at everyone else.

From the start, Closer makes no attempt to hide its unlikely plot and wholesale absurdity. Characters behave completely irrationally, uttering the worst dialogue imaginable. "Why won't you let me love you!?" "I love you and I need a piss." Who talks like this!? No one. Not even British people.

Of course, no one goes to the movies to see boring reality projected on the screen, but the ridiculous situations we see in Closer defy logic to an extreme that ought not to be allowed on film. Would an estranged husband really offer to sign divorce papers if he was given the opportunity to treat his wife "like a whore" one last time? And would this change her mind about the divorce? People this crazy don't exist, and they don't make for good film subjects in any case. The whole affair is just plain phony.

Nichols has a legendary pervy side (Carnal Knowledge, The Graduate), and Closer proves that it's only getting worse. Here he doesn't just treat Portman and Roberts like sluts, but he manages to turn the guys into whores, too, with Dan and Larry engaging in a little cybersex game that ranks as both the most amusing and least credible part of the film.

Closer is much more interesting from a structural standpoint than for anything in its repellent story. Unfortunately, the time skipping doesn't even come close to carrying the film on its own. If any element of this story is interesting to you, track down a copy of 1983's Betrayal, which is told with similar gaps in the timeline -- but in reverse. You might also check out Nichols' own Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, a similar four-character movie that's filled with rage and, unlike Closer, a soul.

Perhaps the most unconscionable thing about Closer is that it takes four excellent actors and consistently insults them with shoddy dialogue that reduces them to caricatures and jokes. I feel especially embarrassed for Roberts, whose role in the film seems to be a neurotic potty-mouth who's willing to blurt out whatever pops into her head.

Don't be misled by the film's timing and its white poster into thinking Closer is a holiday film for the masses. On the contrary: Suffering through Closer is like watching a terrible train wreck in excruciatingly slow motion.

Sorry folks: The DVD does not include Portman's nude scene. In fact, all you get by way of extras is a music video.

Farther, please.



Closer

Facts and Figures

Run time: 104 mins

In Theaters: Friday 10th December 2004

Box Office USA: $34.0M

Box Office Worldwide: $115.5M

Budget: $27M

Distributed by: Sony Pictures

Production compaines: Columbia Pictures

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 1.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 68%
Fresh: 138 Rotten: 65

IMDB: 7.3 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: as Alice, as Dan, as Anna, as Larry, Colin Stinton as Customs Officer, Nick Hobbs as Taxi Driver

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

The BFG Movie Review

The BFG Movie Review

For his adaptation of the Roald Dahl classic, Steven Spielberg reunited with screenwriter Melissa Mathison,...

Finding Dory Movie Review

Finding Dory Movie Review

It's been 13 years since the release of the Disney/Pixar hit Finding Nemo, and filmmaker...

Star Trek Beyond Movie Review

Star Trek Beyond Movie Review

This is where the Star Trek franchise officially shifts from thoughtful drama into thunderous action....

Ice Age: Collision Course Movie Review

Ice Age: Collision Course Movie Review

With its fifth feature-length adventure, this franchise continues its preposterous journey at full tilt. As...

Keanu Movie Review

Keanu Movie Review

An entertaining hybrid of satirical comedy and action thriller, this madcap adventure swerves wildly between...

Ghostbusters Movie Review

Ghostbusters Movie Review

It's been more than 30 years since the Ghostbusters first hit the big screen with...

Now You See Me 2 Movie Review

Now You See Me 2 Movie Review

While the original 2013 magical caper was a big hit, it's style-over-substance approach didn't exactly...

Advertisement
The Legend of Tarzan Movie Review

The Legend of Tarzan Movie Review

It's been nearly 30 years since the last live-action Tarzan movie, and yet it still...

Maggie's Plan Movie Review

Maggie's Plan Movie Review

A New York comedy with vivid characters and a contrived plot, this feels rather a...

Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie Movie Review

Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie Movie Review

Nearly 25 years after the sitcom debuted, Edina and Patsy arrive on the big screen...

Central Intelligence Movie Review

Central Intelligence Movie Review

After teaming up with Will Ferrell for Get Hard and Ice Cube for two Ride...

The Colony [Colonia] Movie Review

The Colony [Colonia] Movie Review

Based on a true story, this Chilean drama has a chilling edge to it that's...

Independence Day: Resurgence Movie Review

Independence Day: Resurgence Movie Review

Two decades is a long time to wait for a sequel, especially one starring much...

Elvis & Nixon Movie Review

Elvis & Nixon Movie Review

This movie is based on a real meeting between Elvis Presley and Richard Nixon in...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.