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The Comfort Of Strangers [DVD] [1990]

Christopher Walken , Rupert Everett , Paul Schrader    Suitable for 15 years and over   DVD
3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
Price: 6.65 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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The Comfort Of Strangers [DVD] [1990] + Don't Look Now  (Digitally Restored) [DVD] [1973]
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Product details

  • Actors: Christopher Walken, Rupert Everett, Natasha Richardson, Helen Mirren, Manfredi Aliquo
  • Directors: Paul Schrader
  • Writers: Harold Pinter, Ian McEwan
  • Producers: Mario Cotone, Angelo Rizzoli Jr., John Thompson, Linda Reisman
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: French, Dutch, Swedish, Finnish, Portuguese
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 15
  • Studio: Twentieth Century Fox
  • DVD Release Date: 1 Mar 2004
  • Run Time: 100 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00015N57O
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 9,152 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Reviews

From Amazon.co.uk

Based on an Ian McEwen novel, The Comfort of Strangers is directed by Paul Schrader at his most portentous. A young couple holidaying in Venice are taken up by an older more sophisticated pair. Christopher Walken as the Eurotrashy Roberto portrays with considerable vigour the sort of smooth stranger from whom anyone who has ever seen this sort of movie ought to run a mile, and Helen Mirren as his complaisant wife is hardly less sinister. Rupert Everett and Natasha Richardson are believably obtuse as the lovers who fail to understand exactly what they are being sucked into.

This ought to be a far better film than it is: Harold Pinter's script is elliptically menacing and Angelo Badalamenti's score attractively gloomy. But in the end The Comfort of Strangers presents a rather low-rent vision of decadence: Roberto's praise of Margaret Thatcher and habit of photographing the unwary and beautiful are not quite enough to make the film's shocking climax entirely plausible. The DVD contains no additional features other than the obligatory theatrical trailer. --Roz Kaveney

Product Description

Paul Schrader's erotic thriller was adapted by Harold Pinter from the novel by Ian McEwan. A couple (Natasha Richardson and Rupert Everett) take a second honeymoon in Venice in an attempt to re-ignite their faltering relationship. Once there, they fall under the spell of an entrancing aristocrat (Christopher Walken) and his wife (Helen Miren) who combine hospitality with an undercurrent of malevolence.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Cancel those tickets for Venice.... 5 April 2004
By G. E. Harrison TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
The film starts slowly, with some beautiful shots of Venice- its almost like a travelogue but there is a strange atmosphere between holidaymakers Natasha Richardson and Rupert Everett. However, the film comes to life with the entry of Christopher Walken and this is vintage Walken- with menace just simmering below the surface.
For me the film didn't work as well as Ian McEwan's novel, Walken is great (one of his best ever performances) and Rupert Everett is very good as a typical middle-class Englishman. However, I wasn't convinced by Natasha Richardson's performance and Helen Mirren's part was so small it seemed a waste of her talents.
This film isn't one for fans of action movies, it's slow-paced throughout but the the tension does build to the denoument. The love scenes between Richardson and Everett are nicely filmed and indeed the whole film looks stunning- I'd have goneout and booked a trip to Venice if it wasn't for the fear of meeting Walken's character.
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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Effectively ghoulish 19 Jan 2004
Format:DVD
The pairing of Christopher Walken and Helen Mirren as a definitely twisted married couple is an inspired one, as is the pairing of Rupert Everett and Natasha Richardson as a younger duo who have decided to visit Venice on their honeymoon. The older couple, Venetian residents, is made up of an English woman and a rural Italian man (Walken, with an interesting accent) who live what appears to be a simple life.
Based on a stinging novella by Ian McEwan, the film is a study in intense self-absorption, to the point of obsession. Both couples are guilty of this sin in different ways--the younger one hedonistically, and the older one in a decidedly more sinister fashion.
When they intersect the obvious sparks--chemical, sexual, and otherwise--fly thick and fast and this makes for strong, compelling cinema. Paul Schrader, the director, has done a superb job capturing the atmosphere and tone of McEwan's novella. What always intrigues me is the "mixed" casting of actors from different countries in the same film. The presence of Walken, the only American among the otherwise British cast, provides an intense presence made all the more so by his out of whack persona.
This "out-of-whackness" reaches a crescendo at the film's climax which should not be revealed here. This is a strange, dark film that stings as much as the original novella and does so abundantly. McEwan, one of the most intelligent fiction writers around, cleverly sets this macabre story in Venice whose dark labyrinthine passages Schrader takes maximum advantage of, giving the film the creepy atmosphere it needs to make it so resonant.
Recommended.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Walken at his menacing best! 9 Aug 2014
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
OMG what an incredible performance from Chris Walken - one of his best - as Robert, the twisted sexual deviant who, along with his wife Helen Mirren, preys upon a young English couple attempting to sort out their troubled relationship. His monologue about his father and his chenanigans with his sisters was hypnotising and the slowly building danger that Richardson and Everett were walking into kept me rivetted. Chris Walken later said that he scared himself when he was playing this character. Not surprising. He was phenomenal. In my humble opinion he chewed up the rest of the cast and spat them out in this one.
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Wasted opportunity 15 Aug 2008
Format:DVD
Based on the haunting 1981 novella by Ian McEwan, this 1990 movie was written by Harold Pinter and directed by Paul Schrader. Much was made upon the films release of the nudity and highly stylised sex scenes between Rupert Everet and Natasha Richardson, which seem tame today.

The story follows a young British couple on holiday in Venice as they attempt to face the future of their relationship, unaware of the fact that someone is following them, taking photographs. Through the course of the trip they meet Robert (Christopher Walker) a mysterious bar own who invites them home to meet his reclusive wife Caroline (Helen Mirren). Although the young couple find Robert and Caroline distasteful company they are inexplicably drawn into their suffocating world with tragic results.

Unlike the novel upon which it is based, the film is uneven and frustrating. While the script sticks faithfully to the plot of the novel it gets bogged down by Pinters laborious dialogue and painful attempts at ambiguity. The performances of Natasha Richardson and Christopher Walker fall victim to the worst of Pinter's excesses, though Rupert Everett and Helen Mirren manage to remain convincing. While the film boasts some beautiful Venice locations a lot of the action is stage bound and clunky.

The disturbing climax, when it eventually arrives, is frustratingly bloodless. As the credits rolled I couldn't help wondering what a different director and screen writer would have made of the source material. While the book stands up as great piece of story telling almost 30 years after publication, the film is lacklustre and dated.

Although this film has a certain curiosity value, I would recommend reading the novel instead and watching "Don't Look Now" a superior Venice set shocker.
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