Alex Worsnip 07/03/2005

Rating: 5/5

Adapted by Patrick Marber from his own play, generally recognised to be
both one of the greatest plays of recent years and one of the most (linguistically) explicit plays ever written, Closer is a superbly dark relationship-based drama. The film version is understatedly but beautifully and sensitively shot with little fanfare and close fidelity
to the original text. Like the play, other four characters have any lines, and a superb cast has been assembled to portray them on-screen, with Jude Law, Clive Owen, Natalie Portman and Julia Roberts all turning in astounding, interesting and mould-breaking performances. Every detail of the film is intelligent, subtle and keenly observed and the story is drawn brilliant. The backdrop is London, and on this backdrop occurs an intense world of pain and betrayal. As an exposition of the negative consequences of strong and intense love, Closer is perfection.

There is an elegance to the mood of the film - even the violent arguments have a beauty to them that is artistic and poetic. There is also frequent black humour. The film is never infected by over-dramatising or straying a million miles from reality. Instead, it rings true on love, sex and the essence of humanity. The exploration of the power dynamics of relationships is superb: usually only 2 characters converse at once, and one usually has power over the other. To see Larry (Owen) begging on his knees in a state of psychological desperation in the extraordinarily sinister scene in the strip club, where Portman's acting is also phenomenal, deep and somewhat terrifying, and then the next moment totally wrapping Dan (Law) around his finger and twisting him into breakdown in a form of psychological warfare is profoundly affecting. Ultimately, Closer is a triumph because of not only its incredibly potent script but the simply incredible acting performances. Only Roberts is less than utterly enthralling, and even she pushes the correct buttons with her character
- it simply isn't as deep or unusual compaared to typical film characters as the other parts are.

This film is simply exquisite, and the execution is faultless. 2005 may only be a couple of weeks old, but we already have a bid for film of the year. Like absolutely nothing else you will see any time soon. Essential.