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Closer 2004 ****

Although the play’s haunting ending is rather horribly botched, there’s plenty of acerbic comment on modern relationships in Mike Nichols’ 2004 drama, adapted from Patrick Marber’s hit play. Jude Law is the indecisive obituary writer Dan, whose relationships with Alice (Natalie Portman) puts the brakes on a relationship with photographer Ann (Julia Roberts). Dan sets Ann up on a blind date with Larry (Clive Owen) as an act of revenge, but it backfires spectacularly, leaving all four characters floundering. The way that the characters attempt to destroy each other gives a searing power to Closer, which is not the kind of film for people who want to root for lovable people; all Marber’s characters are cruel and selfish, and yet there’s identifiable pathos in their struggle to come out on top. Portman, Law, Owen and Roberts all deliver lacerating performances in the style of Nicola’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? making Closer one of the most accomplished dramas of modern cinema.


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