"Closer": Some Thoughts
I wish I could say I thought "Closer" had something important or even particularly interesting to say about love, sex and deceit.
But I can't. Several good friends whose opinions I respect very much think the film is one of the year's best, but all I really get from it is that superficial and dull people are capable of great selfishness and cruelty. Director Mike Nichols, who covered equally bleak ground to more pungent effect in "Carnal Knowledge" and "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?," can't seem to take "Closer" much beyond the conventions of its stage play origins. The cast is uniformly good -- although Clive Owen steals the movie by virtue of being the only character capable of fierce passion -- but they all chiefly serve as vessels for playwright Patrick Marber's parlor game of betrayal. The result is self-conscious and relentlessly artificial.
One of my favorite movie reviewers, Rene Rodriguez, offers a solid critique in the Miami Herald.