Closer (2004)

 “Why do I feel like a pervert?”

Closer is the story of two couples–Dan & Alice and Anna & Larry. Dan (Jude Law), a journalist who writes obituaries meets Alice (Natalie Portman), a transplanted stripper from New York when she’s involved in a car accident. They strike up a relationship and move in together. Dan is attracted to professional photographer Anna (Julia Roberts), and she meets dermatologist Larry (Clive Owen) as a result of a prank arranged by Dan. Closer charts these four people at crucial moments over a period of years, and explores how infidelity permanently affects their relationships.

Closer begins as a gooey boy-meets-girl romance, but then quickly slides into a much darker, and more interesting film that explores the nasty side of human motivation. Dan indulges in infidelity with a standard approach, and his affair with Anna follows a rather typical pattern of deceit and subterfuge. Dan, however, fails to understand Larry’s incredibly complex character–for Larry is a man with hidden depths and strengths. While many films focus on the subject of infidelity by narrowing the topic to the discovery, and subsequent fallout, Closer takes a much bolder approach. Larry understands the power and permanent pain one can cause by a well-timed confession lobbed correctly. Larry uses infidelity as a weapon and as a strength. In an ordinary drama, Larry could be scripted to be the cuckold, but instead, he becomes the puppet master. Clive Owens as Larry delivers an incredible performance. As a fan, it’s gratifying to see him in a role that allows him to flex his skills. Owens’ performance of Larry–the true Nietzschean hero is phenomenal.

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