Expectations were running high for Closer, a romantic drama by famed director Mike Nichols. Nichols is best known for his classic film "The Graduate", but he has other great successes, including "Wit," "Angels In America," and "Silkwood," among many others. Closer was originally a play that won three distinctive awards, and the playwright, Patrick Marber, was even nominated for a Tony for writing the play. With this impressive history behind Closer, critics and fans waited in eager anticipation for its release on film.
The story of Closer is deceptively simple - despite claiming to be in love, four people in two different relationships betray each other on a whim. However, Closer is far from simple, following the intricately woven story of two couples, the first, Alice (Natalie Portman) and Dan (Jude Law) meet on a busy city street. They watch each other and flirt through the crowd until Alice is hit by a car and Dan rushes to her aid. He writes a book about the incident and his subsequent relationship with her. A woman named Anna is the photographer who takes his picture for his book jacket. During their photo session, Dan lusts after Anna. The second couple consists of Anna (Julia Roberts) and Larry (Clive Owen) who meet accidentally when Dan, the writer that Anna photographed, sets up a date with Larry online, using her name.
The couples eventually intertwine, with Larry and Alice meeting at a showing of Anna's photographs and Dan never able to completely get Anna out of his mind. Eventually, infidelity begins between the couples, with no one trying especially hard to keep any secrets. No one is ashamed or contrite unless it selfishly involves their own feelings. In the same token, no one is indignant or hurt unless they feel their emotions will wound the other person. Each person in these romances is cruel in their own way, only concerned with their own satisfactions and rarely, if ever, thinking of how their behavior will affect their partner. Although Larry is definitely the worst of the bunch, Anna and Alice are equally heartless, while Dan finds himself unable to play the game as well. In the end, someone does truly fall in love, but it may be much too late.
With its big stars behind and in front of the camera, it's questionable why Closer didn't recieve a better response from viewers - nonetheless, critics loved it. Perhaps the lukewarm response from audiences was due to this film not being a typical love story. Instead it is a story of constant betrayal, lust overpowering love, and how deliberately hurtful truths can sometimes hurt worse than kind lies. Closer is an interesting film, an in depth look at people who can only pretend at love and are so used to pretending they aren't ever sure if they've ever really experienced it.
The DVD Features:
* Music Video - "The Blower's Daughter"
* Songworthy - "World Outside" - The Devlins
NOTE: The DVD was a bit of a disappointment being a standard release, featuring little more than the basics.