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3.3 out of 5 stars147
3.3 out of 5 stars
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Natalie Portman, Jude Law, Julia Roberts and Clive Owen are all brilliant actors and Mike Nichols almost always directs films that last forever in their emotional depth. (Check out his resume). Patrick Marber wrote the original stage play and it almost makes me want to seek it out in its truest form, as this film brought out nothing in me other than cynicism and dismay. In fact, the main emotional themes seem to be neurotic passion, heartbreak, sadness, anger, evil vengeance, pathetic pleading, deception, and honesty to the point of brutality. Some may find this an interesting exploration of emotions mixed with complex personalities in confusing circumstances. Some call this entertainment, but I think all involved could have done much better. This is a very personal film and one that can only be interpreted by the viewer. I found it very, very bleak.
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on 20 May 2005
this film is an excellent character study of the human condition we call love. It shows us how paranoia and the feeling that we must know every little detail can eat away at someone and cause relationships to desolve. I was really unsure about this movie as i thought it was going to be over long and too depressing. I have never been so wrong about anything, the film flys by and the performances are career bests from all involved. Especially Natalie Portman, who steals the show as alice.
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on 21 January 2006
It's really hard to understand a lot of the reviews that have categorically trashed the film here. I can appreciate that an older, or more sheltered, audience would maybe find the film a tad too raw and brutal to enjoy; I'm pretty sure that someone like my grandmother would have a minor stroke at some of the language used. Then again, maybe not... she's a game old bird, come to think of it. But if you recognise the world this film depicts with ruthless honesty, I think you'll find it resonant, at least on some level, and ultimately very thought-provoking indeed.
Basically, I think the major problem with a lot of the most viciously negative reviewers here is that they seem to be lacking a sense of humour. I found Closer to be a very dark, very bitingly funny black comedy. It's not easy to get me laughing during a movie, but I really did howl in parts of this one. But then, an instant later, one of the leads would make an unutterably cruel remark, or a profound comment, or a tragic admission, and that would act like a sharp blow to the stomach, and the laughter would dissolve into something a lot more thoughtful and poignant.
I'm not saying this is a perfect film, though. There were quite a few lines in the script that I felt I'd heard before in some other hackneyed soap opera of angsty relationships, such as 'Please don't do this' etc. Maybe it's because a lot of these lines were delivered without any real emotional oomph or imagination by Julia Roberts, and sometimes by Jude Law. Both of their performances were generally solid, but there were two particular scenes focused on both their characters which did fall very flat. Thank God for Clive Owen's performance- he was riveting. Natalie Portman also gave a fiendishly difficult role her all, and she was equally mesmerising for the most part.
I didn't find the ending of the movie crushingly bleak at all. It was refreshingly real... and I don't mean that as a euphemism for downright depressing; it was actually pretty comforting to witness things conclude as you felt it was fitting that they should. Above all things, Closer is a ruthlessly modern picture. That doesn't make it sound too appetising, I know, maybe it'd be more accurate to call it genuinely, unabashedly contemporary and honest. If you've had any kind of a patchy history to your love life, if you've lived a little and have some experience of the dating/mating game during the last couple of years, I have no doubt that you'll find a lot in this film that is familiar and well-observed. You've got to know the environment depicted, on some level, to be able to appreciate the satire, I suppose.
So if you haven't seen the film and are in two minds whether or not to buy a copy, I'd say go for it. It's a hauntingly memorable fable with an exceptional performance from Clive Owen, razor sharp satire throughout, and crikey- it'll make you think and laugh and wince and laugh and think some more.
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on 5 April 2005
This film is based on the brilliant play of the same name, and concerns themes of love, deception and betrayal.
I think some of the viewers who have left comments on the website have largely missed the point. It is certainly not a romantic comedy (and how you would presume this from the tag-line I don't quite understand, 'If you believe in love at first sight, you never stop looking'). Nor is it badly acted at all, and I think the language is effective precisely because it is so real. It is not a pretty tale, it's a true one about love in London in the nineties. And believe me I was there...
It is a simple story of meetings and break-ups, a brutal tale of love, the precise opposite to a rom-com. This film considers the other side of 'happy ever after', of how love turns out in a not-so-perfect world.
The film is made up of a series of duologues, wonderfully acted, particularly by Owen and Portman, who truly shine in their roles. All give remarkably exposing performances, and I was really impressed by the lack of 'Hollywood glamour' in the film. Yes, all the stars are stunning, but all present very raw characters - and that is precisely what it is about. Sex is mis-presented as love, and love as sex, and both can be thrown about easily.
This is not an easy film to watch. It hurts, some of the dialogue is genuinely brutal, but overall I think it's a good adaptation of the stage play. If you want to watch a nice romantic comedy, buy 'Maid in Manhatten'. But if you're after something a bit edgier and more true, then this is much closer to the bone.
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VINE VOICEon 17 December 2007
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.
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on 28 September 2005
Nasty people doing nasty things too each other.
By the end you would be hard pushed to actually care about any of the characters.
A pointless piece of film waisting four talented actors.
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on 26 June 2007
I really wanted to like this film, and had been quite excited about watching it, but sadly it was a little disappointing. Firstly, whilst Natalie Portman was typically superb and Julia Roberts was okay, the two male actors give completely flat and uninspiring performances more suited to a daytime soap than a movie with names of this calibre. Jude Law is particularly awful in his role, and really drags the movie down in all honesty.

It is a very downbeat and dialogue driven movie, but the script really isn't as sharp as it ought to be - some of the scenes are good in outline, but are just screaming to be rewritten. As it is, sadly, most of the dialogue just meanders along and potentially good scenes become dull, and even cringeworthy in some places. They also insist on using 'The Blower's Daughter' by Damien Rice as a sort of theme tune for the film - a powerful song if used appropriately, but here it just adds to the depressing feeling you'll get watching some of the disappointing scenes and acting performances on display.

That said, there are brief fleeting moments of interest and the occasional slick piece of dialogue, so if you're really interested in seeing this film, I would actually recommend seeing it just for the few moments it provides, but just don't expect too much as a whole.
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on 7 January 2006
The Main Feature: Is this love? Real love I mean. The sort that enchants and then repulses, that thoughtfully ensnares, then thoughtlessly rejects. Something that is at once all encompassing, yet somehow barely touchable. A fairytale always on the brink of melting into tragedy. For some it will be, for others it won't; and therein lies the power of Closer. Mike Nichols' film juxtaposes them all and then shoves them in your face, with unabashed honesty. It's wildly different to the 'love' we're normally fed in films, because all the uncomfortable and unpalatable bits are left it - and for that reason some people just won't like it. At some point most will ask whether they do or not. And for a few, that's just not something you should have to do in a movie - and they'll most probably switch off. This movie is made for the rest: who like a movie to challenge them a little, like to be left thinking at the end and once in a while don't mind staring reality in the face.

There are four main players: Anna (Julia Roberts) is a portrait photographer; Dan (Jude Law) an obituary writer; Larry (Clive Owen) a dermatologist and Alice (Natalie Portman), who is an American stripper. All put in adept, sometimes beguiling performances. Each inhabit their characters in different ways; adding another layer of intrigue to an already unusual tale. Nichols skillfully stirs together various scenes from their lives that pair them again and again with each other - and then without each other. If this is love, then it rises to the surface in many guises - comedy, tragedy, intimacy, hope, despair, vengeance - and you never know which is going to come next.

Overall Package/Extras: Disappointingly few extras - only a few trailers and a music video of Damien Rice's 'The Blower's Daughter'. A fairly strong song, but a distinctly average video. Just the sort of film where a Director's (and/or Playwright's) commentary would have been intriguing.

The one disk is packaged in a boring, standard plastic DVD case.

Verdict: Both bewitching and unbearable. A real audience divider. The DVD isn't worth buying for the Extras or if you're after a film that you'll want to watch repeatedly - because you just won't. One viewing is enough for Closer to get under your skin, if you let it. And you should - even if only once.
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VINE VOICEon 18 May 2005
Long gone are the days of boy meets girl, pair fall in love and live happily ever after. Now sleeping around, deception and falling for strippers is the norm. Closer, Patrick Marber's acclaimed stage play arrives on the big screen to mixed reviews. The film is hard-hitting - dissecting the modern love story with a sledge hammer. It is sure to be an awards contender with the Oscars looming, but lacks the depth of a classic.
Dan (Law) is an obituary columnist who instantly falls for wild-child Alice (Portman), when a black cab knocks her down right in front of him. A year later and having written a book about her, the couple are living together. It is at this point he meets photographer Anna (Roberts) and finds a new target for his wandering eyes. Ironically and accidentally Dan brings Anna together with the sex-hungry doctor Larry (Owen), through a horribly humorous scene involving an internet chat room. From here the story takes a more serious turn and develops into a tangled web of infidelity and betrayal, electrified with sexual tension.
The grimy London backdrop and honest (yet sometimes illogically vulgar) dialogue lend some realism, but the film is obviously designed for the stage. The script, whilst provocative and oozing with intelligent and often perversely dark humour, is shallow to the extent that it fails to keep the audience thoroughly engaged.
The four self-obsessed main characters, on whom the film solely focuses, are deeply dislikeable, theatrically over-exaggerated and their relationships utterly implausible. The audience struggles to find an emotional bond to them or have sympathy for their situations. This is through no fault of the cast but a problem of adapting a dialogue heavy play to the cinema.
The films saving grace is the fascinating ensemble of stars that Closer boasts, who are amongst Hollywood's most sought after. It is interesting to see these 'flawless' stars play the most imperfect of characters. Portman is particularly refreshing to watch - in almost every way overshadowing her more experienced co-star Roberts. Portman's down to earth, almost naïve, charm and beauty shine through. She also shows people another side to herself - 'mainly my backside', she explained in November's Spark interview. By playing a stripper in the film she shows a growing diversity and maturity (a topless scene was shot but was aptly edited in post production).
Both male leads find their acting feet once again having been the focus of criticism lately. Owen, recovers from King Arthur by flawlessly portraying the selfish Larry with real gusto and emotion. Similarly, Law makes up for Alfie, by effortlessly playing the sad and sadistic Dan. Strangely enough it was Owen who played Dan in the stage version of the adaptation.
Closer is a thought provoking film addressing the manipulative, superficial and seedy nature of what for many, is an accurate exposé of love in the 21st Century. The film may be too heartless to be moving but is not heartless enough to be shocking.
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on 19 June 2014
Thin plot, 2D characters. Only managed to watch one third of the film...just dont care for characters. Audio Description was irritating, too fast with too much information..."her long slender fingers and straight hair..." we do not need to know that. zzzzzzzz
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