1361. Closer (2004)

8.3 Brutal and complex
  • Acting 8.5
  • Directing 8.3
  • Story 8.1
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Starring: Jude Law, Natalie Portman, Julia Roberts

Director: Mike Nichols

Running Time: 104 mins

Closer is an American film following the relationships of two couples whose lives turn upside down when they begin to intertwine.

As nasty and emotionally painful this film is, I thought Closer was absolutely fantastic. An unorthodox romantic drama that looks at love from a very raw, dark perspective, but it’s a story that had me mesmerised from start to finish, not least thanks to Mike Nichols’ brilliant directing and four stunning central performances.

And it’s those performances that are by far what struck me most about Closer. Jude Law, Julia Roberts, Natalie Portman and Clive Owen are all great actors, but all of their turns in this film are astonishing. Taking on four incredibly complex and diverse characters, the leads do an incredible job of making their personas so relatable on screen, meaning that when it comes to the emotional power of the film, it hits home even harder.

Although I’m still not fully clear as to what the truth behind each of the characters’ actions in this film were (something that I think was beautifully left open to interpretation), it was the incredible performances that allowed me to care so much about what was happening. The relationships in this brutal love ‘rectangle’ are so complicated and full of deceit that it was impossible to really get to the bottom of everything, but thanks to the four stunning performances, I was able to form such a strong emotional connection with each of the characters.

That’s where Mike Nichols’ directing adds just that little bit more to making this film truly fantastic. Again, with such a vague plot, it was more often than not impossible to really understand the characters, but Nichols directs the film in such a beautifully atmospheric way, making the characters’ relationships appear so fragile and important, that I was absolutely enthralled right the way through this film.

With regards to the plot itself, I thought it was absolutely ingenious, if not seriously complicated. What I was most impressed by, however, is the bizarre way that the story progresses through time. Sometimes, weeks and months pass between scenes, without you ever being told, and some of the characters’ standings in their relationships have changed dramatically. That quick movement between periods of the story is an example of brilliant directing and editing, as it hugely ups the drama of the situation, reinforcing often how fickle or shallow some people can be when dealing with these relationships, which I absolutely loved.

Overall, I was hugely impressed by Closer. I may still not have got fully to grips with it, something that many rewatches will hopefully allow me to do, but the fact that it’s such an emotionally powerful and brutal love story that kept me fully engrossed from start to finish, also thanks to the incredible acting and directing, means that I would be delighted to give this another watch any time soon, and that’s why it gets an 8.3 from me.


About Author

The Mad Movie Man, AKA Anthony Cullen, writes articles and reviews about movies and the world of cinema. Since January 1st, 2013, he has watched and reviewed a movie every day. This is the blog dedicated to the project: www.madmovieman.com