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87 of 92 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Powerful and sexy.
As a huge Jeremy Irons fan I was thrilled to discover he starred in a film based on one of my favourate books, "Damage" by Josephine Hart. I odered the DVD that day and wasn't dissapointed. The story tells of a well off middle aged Dr turned politician with a beautiful wife and two children who believes himself to be perfectly happy until he meets the aloof and...
Published on 11 Oct 2002

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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Obsession Kills !
After meeting his son's (Martyn, played by Rupert Graves) fiancee, Anna (Juliette Binoche), Dr Stephen Fleming (Jeremy Irons), a member of parliament, becomes wild for her and soon they start an obsessive sexual affair. They would seize every single opportunity they could to see each other and f***. They just f***. Their physical desire for each other is insatiable. They...
Published on 19 Jun 2007 by Jay


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87 of 92 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Powerful and sexy., 11 Oct 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: Damage [DVD] [1993] (DVD)
As a huge Jeremy Irons fan I was thrilled to discover he starred in a film based on one of my favourate books, "Damage" by Josephine Hart. I odered the DVD that day and wasn't dissapointed. The story tells of a well off middle aged Dr turned politician with a beautiful wife and two children who believes himself to be perfectly happy until he meets the aloof and beautiful fiance of his son and discovers that he has never really lived. Those who like the french or european style of film making in general will love this film, the sex scenes are powerful and realistic and the characters are wonderfully cast. The film can be bare in places, the story line disturbing, but all in all it's definately worth watching. Those expecting a "Basic Instinct" style glossed up and expensively made sex thriller will be dissapointed, those who enjoy good acting, a good story line and an element of realism will not.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "Damaged people are dangerous. They know they can survive", 25 Dec 2007
By 
This review is from: Damage [DVD] [1993] (DVD)
The key catalyst in this modern Greek tragedy is Anna Barton (Juliette Binoche), a young, androgynous woman and the daughter of a diplomat, whose taciturn and cryptic presence has both a bewitching and disturbing effect from the start. When she meets her boyfriend's father, Dr. Stephen Fleming (Jeremy Irons) who is a Member of Parliament, and begins an affair with him, the Oedipal roles are reversed as the father becomes the competitor for the son's love object. At a family gathering, Anna is open about her traumatic past, telling them of her brother who committed suicide at 16, unable to cope with his sister embarking on her first love affair. Left with a legacy of existential anguish, she would seem to be compulsively reenacting the conflict through new erotic entanglements in an attempt to resolve it, and remains wholly unconcerned about the destruction she might wreak in the process. As she rather melodramatically tells Stephen after another bout of aggressive sex, "Remember: damaged people are dangerous. They know they can survive".

Other reviewers have commented that the motivation of Jeremy Irons' character is not clear or realistic. But I felt that it was plausible and could understand how he might be easily seduced by Anna - she does after all embody the fierce passion and powerful emotions that are all too lacking in his boring, bourgeois marriage to Ingrid (Miranda Richardson) and the routine-based family existence he has built up with her. His betrayal of her and his own son Martyn (Rupert Graves) is not a morally reprehensible act, but I believe it was director Louis Malle's intention to show what is spontaneously - and sometimes fatally - abandoned when buried desires are finally acted upon after years of repression. How we react to the character of Stephen perhaps tells us how we react to desire, and the extent to which we might allow morals to harness and hold back a basic, existential passion.

The film polarised critics, too, upon its release in 1992. Some could not take it seriously (always a problem with melodrama) and mocked the combative sex scenes in which Binoche and Irons paw and claw at each other. Others found the adultery storyline and the character of Anna off-putting (as if trauma were somehow 'unpleasant' rather than a tragic fact of life). There are, it must be said, a few incongruities in the film: Anna's mother Elizabeth (Leslie Caron), for example, has an American accent although her daughter retains a French one; at dinner, she tactlessly talks of Martyn resembling her dead son, thereby unsettling everyone in the room without noticing herself, but somehow astutely observes Stephen's furtive lust for her daughter and warns him to steer clear at the same time. Also, the musical score is sometimes too much of a distraction, too intrusively melodramatic.

But this film is nevertheless well worth watching. Miranda Richardson's performance is so emotionally sincere, it is almost painful to watch in the closing scenes (especially when she tells her husband in utter devastation, "What a pity we ever met"). In contrast to what others have written of the two leads, I found that they rose to the task well. Binoche - one of my favourite actresses - is compelling, in spite of the discrepancy of accent. Asked by the New York Times in 1992 whether she identified with the character of Anna, she replied: "No, but I understood her. I understood that when you have lost the main thing in your life, you have nothing else to lose and you're kind of free and dangerous to others. It's your road; you're walking along your own road."

Also recommended: The End of the Affair (DVD), Three Colours Blue (DVD) and The Unbearable Lightness Of Being (DVD)
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Obsession Kills !, 19 Jun 2007
This review is from: Damage [DVD] [1993] (DVD)
After meeting his son's (Martyn, played by Rupert Graves) fiancee, Anna (Juliette Binoche), Dr Stephen Fleming (Jeremy Irons), a member of parliament, becomes wild for her and soon they start an obsessive sexual affair. They would seize every single opportunity they could to see each other and f***. They just f***. Their physical desire for each other is insatiable. They always want more. Dr Fleming completely forgets about his son and his wife. Anna obviously has issues about remaining faithful to her future husband. Dr Fleming and Anna keep seeing one another secretly. Their sexual expression is like exploding volcanoes. Until one day, Martyn has got Anna's new address and finds that the door to the room is unlocked...

This film is not just about an ordinary extra-marital affair. It is about sheer self-indulgence and ultimate obsession. Compared to 'Unfaithful', the elements in this movie is far more intense and in a way, this is almost about incest. I wouldn't say all cases of adultery are unforgivable, for people fall in love/becoming attracted to someone for a reason. But this film is about pure lust (although 'Unfaithful' is also about desire), not love. In the end, Dr Fleming and Anna must confront the dire consequences...

I personally think this film is quite dazzling. The performances are superb, in particular the breakdown scene in which Miranda Richardson performs. Certainly, 'Fatale'/'Damage' is for adults only. These two are simply crazy about each other, in the case of sex. In this sense, passion is abused and misused. Nevertheless, this is a great work. If you're after cinema sexual intensity, this flick is for you.
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37 of 42 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Some fine acting - and Jeremy Irons, 9 Aug 2002
This review is from: Damage [VHS] [1993] (VHS Tape)
You know how Jeremy Irons can be absolutely outstanding (Dead Ringers) or buttock-clenchingly embarassing (Stealing Beauty)? Well this performance belongs in the latter category: this tale of forbidden passion brings out all that is hammy in Irons and then adds some ham for good measure. The good news is that Miranda Richardson (who won an Oscar nomination for her role as Irons' wife) is astonishingly good - her final scene will stay in your mind for ever as one of the best, most truthful performances you are likely to see - and isn't alone: Binoche and Graves are both very good in thankless parts. Gymnastic and unlikely sex scenes apart, there are reaons to enjoy this film: but Irons' self-important and dull performance is a major draw-back.
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28 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Scary, tragic, and creeping under your skin., 17 July 2000
This review is from: Damage [VHS] [1993] (VHS Tape)
I saw this film in a movie theater for the first time, two nights in a row, with a friend of mine. Both of us were utterly stunned, didn't speak for half an hour afterwards, and were left with the lingering feeling that yes, we've been there, done that, and escaped. The love of your life walks by, and you can't help yourself, are caught in circumstances you can never escape, you gamble, risk and lose everything. Both Irons and Binoche are excellent in this movie, to a fatal effect. Highly recommended!
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Emotionally captivating with brilliant performances by Irons, Binoche and Richardson, 17 Jun 2008
By 
Dennis Littrell (SoCal) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Damage [DVD] [1993] (DVD)
[BEWARE SPOILERS]

I don't know whether I've ever watched a film in which I identified more with all the characters than I did in this emotionally wrenching masterwork from the late, great Louis Malle. It is part of the genius of Malle to, like Shakespeare, make every character real and to see and present the depth of even those slightly off stage.

I could begin with the youngest, the daughter Sally (Gemma Clarke) who says little and is always at a slight distance, her serious face in the backseat of the car seemingly thinking dark thoughts, her face down the hallway at night, seemingly knowing that her father has committed adultery with her brother's fiancée--yet not knowing. Louis Malle wanted a certain expression on her face; he wanted the primeval depth of her character as a being that knows more than it knows to be etched upon the screen. And this is because what she knows and doesn't know is what we all know and don't tell ourselves, namely that there is a part of our nature that is not under our control, a part of our nature that can cause not just damage, but disaster. And we are helpless to even see it coming let alone stop it.

In the wife, played with precision and finesse by Miranda Richardson, we see a complex and open person who expresses herself with subtle incisiveness in little gestures and poignant pauses, but then when it all comes crashing down, she speaks with the passion of cold steel cutting into flesh.

Juliette Binoche's enigmatic Anna pulled me in the way she easily vacuumed in Jeremy Irons' high toned minister, Stephen Fleming. She was a low pressure area of enormous force that sucked Stephen to her like some bit of fluff and made him demand incredulously "Who are you?" while realizing that until now he never knew himself and what he could feel. For those who are more familiar with the Juliette Binoche of, say, The English Patient (1996) or Cache (2005), the pure sexual power that she can radiate on the screen may surprise you. Here her power is in what seems like pure surrender. But it is Stephen Fleming who is surrendering.

Anna's mother, played with a nuanced directness by Leslie Caron, is one of those women who say whatever is on her mind regardless of the circumstances, often to the great embarrassment of everyone present. Yet at the end we see in her an instinctive wisdom that in retrospect makes it right that she should speak so candidly and without guile. If only Stephen had listened to her! If only he had understood that what she said was to be taken literally and as a grave warning. Of course in such matters, warnings are of no avail.

Louis Malle remarked in the interview that is on the DVD that Jeremy Irons felt that his character had to be played in some sense "as himself." He would be not only naked to the audience in a physical sense (he was; beware prudes) but also as an emotional human being. He needed to project the fall from all that is proper and circumspect to become someone who would grovel before a passion he did not know existed within himself. He had to go from high dignity to abject humility. Anna was the siren's call and he her chosen sailor. He could not resist even though his passion for her would destroy everything he had, his career, his wife and family, his reputation, his personal homeostasis. He would think that, yes, I must leave my wife and go with Anna, and she would have to tell him that you can't do that, your son would hate you.

And then there is Anna's passion, not just in the physical, but in the deeply emotion sense of the irrational when she says "Do you think I would consent to marry Martyn if I could not have you?" As we see it is only the wife who knows and expresses, after it is all over, the obvious truth: "Did you think you could go on like this every day into the future?"

Well, when you think about it, of course not. Yet neither Anna nor Stephen, both blinded by the wild passion they felt for each other, knew the terrible state of danger they were creating. Anna's sin is that of arrogance to think she could satisfy both the father and the son and could manipulate them like toys on a string and nobody would be the wiser. And Stephen's failing is really that of a child-like surrender to this flood of emotion and passion that Anna evoked in him. He, even more than she, is irrational and blind.

Did she love him? Did he love her? And what is love? it might be asked. Long ago I once said to a young woman, "I love you," and she said what Anna says to Stephen, "I know." Such an answer should be an eye opener, but neither I nor Stephen noticed at the time.

Seldom have I felt so much emotion while watching a film. I have seen most of Malle's work, and he is always personal and deeply involved with his characters; but I think here he has created, if not a masterpiece, at least a most compelling story of what it is to be human and to fall from grace. I think it is only right that it took a combination of human error (the key left in the lock by Stephen) and the callous hand of fate that sends Martyn over the railing to bring about his modern tragedy. And, as in all great works of tragic art, the seeds of destruction are there in the psyches of the characters like the heel of Achilles.

Here's a quote from Anna that foreshadows the ending: "Damaged people are dangerous because they know they can survive."
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Excellent movie, BUT HORRID TRANSFER., 28 Mar 2008
By 
Francisco José Poyato Ariza "Fran" (Madrid, Spain) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Damage [DVD] [1993] (DVD)
This move is Louis Malle at his best: cold, yet warm; unapologetic, yet tender; sofisticate, yet direct. People who did bad reviews of this movie would better enjoy soup-TV. However, beware: THE TRANSFER OF THIS VERSION IS THE WORST I HAVE EVER SEEN. Blurry, with double lines, lack of definition, poor colors, dull brightness, no contrast. Watch the movie, it is a little masterpiece, but get yourselves some other transfer that would do justice to its gorgeous cinematography. The two stars are for the transfer, the movie itself would certainly deserve five.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Feelings, 14 May 2014
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This review is from: Damage [DVD] [1993] (DVD)
I liked the way in which the two flirt, but I disliked to see an handkerchief around Jeremy Irons penis during a sex scene...
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3.0 out of 5 stars Superb film, but the dutch subtitles!, 15 Dec 2011
By 
David Franks (Cambridge, England) - See all my reviews
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I saw this film at the cinema some years ago, and thought it was superb, and so bought the (Dutch) DVD. Usually you can switch off the subtitles on these Dutch DVDs, and then it's just a normal English-language DVD. But on this DVD it doesn't seem to be possible to switch them off, and I found it impossible not to read the subtitles, which I didn't understand, of course. This is an interesting side-effect of watching foreign language films with English subtitles for years, and I gave up quite soon. Amazon took it back, of course, and I'll try the Region 1 version next.

Later: The Region 1 version is fine, of course, and this is a superb film, a bit harrowing, but beautifully filmed and acted.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Damage {DVD} {1993}, 7 Sep 2011
This review is from: Damage [DVD] [1993] (DVD)
It is an interesting story. In our lives I don't think it's an approval story but it's just a film ,so We can enjoy.Color of Night [DVD] [1994]Sliver [DVD]
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Damage [DVD] [1993]
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