Tuesday, March 23, 2010

best films: #51: CLOSER (2004)

Previously ranked and blogged at #39
It's far from romantic, it reveals the greatest flaws in the human condition, and it's also one of the most riveting ensemble pieces I've ever seen. Closer may be one of the most heartless flicks you're likely to see in terms of humanity and love and devotion, but it happens to feature four fantastic performances from some of the best thesps working today. Whether you're on Team Anna, the photographer with her unusually subtle weakness for excitement - subtlety not something we're used to seeing from rom-com queen Julia Roberts; Team Dan, the obituary writer with his misguided notions of love and fidelity - played by Jude Law; Team Larry, the doctor with his often scary need to be loved and needed - played with typical ferocity by Clive Owen; or Team Alice, the wandering loner (and sometimes stripper) with her manipulative but sweet-natured ways of enrapturing men - played with surprising depth by Natalie Portman, there is something for everyone in Closer. Though I was hooked the instant the magnificent vocal stylings and song-writing of Damien Rice's "The Blower's Daughter" popped up in the trailer, upon seeing the film itself I realized that though stage-to-screen adaptations can often be plagued with awkward transfers, great actors performing great material is a thing to be universally appreciated, be they stage audiences of big-screen audiences.

Standout Performance: This is definitely a tough one to call, but I'll have to go with Portman for this one. Owen takes a very close second with Roberts close behind him. These are some career-best performances here, so it's not an easy decision to make.

4 comments:

Andrew: Encore Entertainment said...

A pox on you for not choosing Jude as best in show.

I mean, errr, excuse me :)

So glad to see this mentioned. Nichols has crafted two excellent stage to screen adaptations (and a host of other great ones in between). Closer is unfortunately very underrated. It trumps four of the five films nominated for BP that year as far as I'm concerned.

Simon said...

I like everyone in this movie but Julia Roberts...

And, with tthat in mind, I will agree with Andrew that you should be plagued for this dismissal.

(I'm trying out talking like this)

Luke said...

Oh sheesh. Leave it to me to somehow upset the masses when I'm simultaneously heaping praise on a film. My apologies gentlemen, but I'll have to stand by my decision. Although I will say that it's probably my favorite performance of Jude's (after A.I.)

Simon said...

Nobody's upset...we're just siding with the guy currently in theatres.