Happy Valentine's Day everyone.
But that was yesterday. Today in honor of those of you celebrating love, I wanna talk about a film I caught over the weekend. A film called Closer. I had wanted to see this for a very long time, and the opportunity finally arose.
The thing is, after watching this, I realise that the film does not celebrate true love, but instead the complications that exist amongst people in relationships. Complications which can be avoided actually.
Closer focuses on four individuals: Anna the photographer, Dan the obituarist and failed writer, Alice the stripper and Larry the dermatologist. These two men and two women fall in love with one another (or so we think), and the choices and actions they take affect each other greatly.
That pretty much sums up the plot. It's not much, but the beauty of it is the execution by director Mike Nichols. He basically focuses his camera on the four of them, and no one else. Their interactions drive the story, and the sharp and crude dialogue used actually makes the film quite fascinating. It's based on a play, so I guess that explains it. All four actors perform well, though Julia Roberts looked rather dull. She seemed like she could do her role as Anna in her sleep. Clive Owen and my favourite actress Natalie Portman were the better performers here, even though Owen is basically playing the same role he usually plays and Portman has been better in other roles.
So that's the good stuff. Now for the bad.
After watching this, I have come to the conclusion that all four characters are severely flawed, and not in a good way. All four of them are either liars, hypocrites or cheaters, or all of the above. This of course makes it impossible for me to empathise with any of them.
Dan, played by Jude Law, wants two women. He can't live without either one, so he cheats on both. So who does he love? Both? I doubt that. As Alice (Portman) says to him at one point: if he loves her, why would he hurt her by sleeping with Anna? The worst part of him is that he can't stand it when both women cheat on him later.
Anna on the other hand is somewhat of an idiot. She looks indifferent for the most part, and although she seems wise on the surface, she can't keep herself out of a love triangle/quadrangle, yet all she had to do was say no to Dan the first time. I find her similar to Dan in the sense that she doesn't know what love really is.
Alice seems to know love better than the other three, but she's too emotional and the biggest liar out of the four (you'll figure this out by the end of the film). She's smart but doesn't give herself enough attention or self esteem to fight for her man.
Larry (Owen) turned out to be the smartest of the four. He's obsessive, which is most evident after Anna reveals to him she had been with Dan while married to him. But Larry's obsessiveness fuels him and gave him the means to hatch a plan that allows him to win in the end. Yes, he cheats too. But at least he's honest when it counts.
My major gripe about this film is why the characters are portrayed this way. Does the writer think relationships are doomed to end like this every time, and that there is no such thing as true love? From my observation, whenever any of the four say the words 'I love you', it sounds meaningless. It's like me saying those words to random people for no apparent reason and expecting them to buy it. If any of the four loved the person they were with at the time, they'd do more than use words or ask for sex. They'd prove it. As it stands, none of them do the things they do out of love, they did it out of trying to win a war of some sort.
The other thing I didn't like was the use of Damian Rice's The Blower's Daughter during the opening and ending of the film. It's a nice song, but using it as the film moves in slow motion is stupid! It's as stupid as playing an action sequence in fast forward and having techno music blaring in the background. It's a fitting song, more than you'd expect, but it was applied wrongly here.
In closing I'd like to say that it's a good film, but not if you believe in happy endings to love stories. Even though I haven't really found true love, I still believe in it, which is why I disliked how the filmmakers of Closer approached this subject. Yes, relationships are complicated, but there are people out there who can work things out without doing foolish things. I hope none of you reading this will ever do any of the things these four individuals did in the film.
For the record, my rating for this film is 3/5.