I'm sorry but this is pretentious nonsense and somebody has to speak out!
I used to love (screenwriter) Patrick Marber in The Day Today and I thought his adaptation of Zoe Heller's 'Notes on a Scandal' was pretty good stuff, but this is just total dross and I can't believe anyone thinks otherwise. It's not like I spend my life watching Rambo films - name pretty much any poncey film and I've seen it twice and got the t-shirt - and I have absolutely nothing against the 'mature themes' that others have mentioned. But 'Closer' is in fact mind-bogglingly immature, like an erotic story written by a virgin. Tee hee, Natalie Portman is a stripper, Clive Owen surfs dirty websites at work, everyone jumps in and out of bed with each other... Aren't we big and aren't we clever? Well, no, actually, and dialogue such as 'I love you. I need a p*ss' is like something out of a sixth-form play.
No surprises for guessing that this was, in fact, adapted from Marber's own stage play. Everything has the ring of artificiality, and the dialogue is horribly arch and self-satisfied. The whole thing is one big Neil La Bute rip-off. Wisps of character drifting about saying unlikely things in sneery voices and swearing a bit to show how marvellously cutting edge it all is. (The funny thing is, I kind of like Neil La Bute. There's an air of originality to his work, no matter how annoying. But sloppy seconds are an entirely different matter.) Clive Owen is probably the worst offender. He can barely deliver a line here! He's so awful I almost want to cry. I hope Julia Roberts worked for free because she's barely in it. Even when she's on screen you don't notice she's there. She has one scene (with Clive Owen unfortunately) where she shows some emotional depth, but other than that she's the priciest wallpaper you're ever likely to see. As for Jude Law, they seem to have cobbled his role together from four or five different films. I can't even begin to describe his character(s). Kudos to Natalie Portman for being the least annoying of the four. It probably helps that she's luminously beautiful, and male fans will no doubt be giddy with glee watching her lapdance for Clive Owen. It seems such a waste, though, to go to the trouble of disrobing for such embarrassing pap. Is it every actress's secret desire to get nekkid? I don't understand it. No doubt the closing scene is intended to be poignant, but actually it's just an excuse to watch Portman's rack bouncing about in a skimpy top.
'Pretentious? Moi?' That line wasn't actually in the film, but it should have been. Just because it's long and complicated and un-involving doesn't make it art. If you want an intelligent, edgy film that actually says something about the human condition, try 'The Dream Life of Angels'. La Bute's 'In the Company of Men' and 'The Shape of Things' are both vaguely irritating but still a safer bet than wasting two hours of your life watching 'Closer'. This is a horrible film! A pseud in La Bute's clothing.