Fatal Attraction Reviews
An area that seems to be central to many psychological thrillers is the conflict between jilted lovers. This concept is displayed most prevalently in the film Fatal Attraction. After a night of passion, New York attorney Dan finds himself being staked by Alex, the woman who he attempted to have an affair with. This film has three intriguing performances in its two leads. Michael Douglas plays Dan with a wide variety of emotion. He is believable in his fear, panic and angry. The subtle changes in his face conveys so much with so little. While he is jutted in his anger at times, there are moments where he is unlikeable at times. Equally impressive is Glenn Close as Alex. She is initially sweet and innocent but she slowly develops an psychotic and creepy person. She performs this switch with ease. However, she is still pitiful even when she is committing terrible acts. The problem with her performance is she initially does not appear to be so incredible that Dan would be willing to risk everything in an affair. The music of the film punctuates important scenes and adds to uneasiness of the various situations. It particularly impressive when it is able to shift the mood or tone of a long continuous take.The editing is also effective at creating a difference in feeling and mood of different scenes. For instance, it can be fast and energetic at the beginning of the affair and eventually becomes long and drawn out when emotions get serious. This juxtaposition of different scenes helps shift the mood of the film.
The suicide attempt scene is a combination of great directing, acting, editing, music, shock and unexpectedness of such a massive event effective. It helps set the stakes and emotional state for characters early in the film. The directing of this film is also impressive. As the film develops, it becomes that a phone ringing causes panic in characters and viewers. Some shots are directed almost like they are spying on events. There are some problems in the film. the child actor in this is not the worst but not the best. She feels forced at times or unnecessary at others. The pacing of the film is also inconsistent with definite dips in energy or momentum that had been building for a few scenes. Additionally, there is unclear motivation for some of the characters. They can change their outlook on the situation or other characters extremely quickly without any explanation or time. Finally, without spoiling the film, the ending of the film is somewhat predictable. It is done well but the way it is directed and edited gives away what is going to occur before it happens onscreen. This type of editing and directing hinders the suspense and horror of the ending. Overall Fatal Attraction is an excellent example of the ex-lover phycological thriller genre. I would recommend it to fans of the genre or those who enjoy a creepy performance like the one Close gives.
Michael Douglas plays Dan Gallagher an attorney who lives with his wife, daughter, and dog in New York. At a business event, Dan meets Alex Forrest, played by Glenn Close, who is a publishing editor. Soon after, Dan's wife and daughter have a weekend away and Dan has an affair with Alex. Regretting his mistake, Dan tries to end the relationship, but he quickly learns that he cannot undo his actions that easily, and Alex may be more dangerous than he thought.
Fatal Attraction is an excellent slow-burn thrill ride. The first half hour is quite slow, but the twists from that point onwards keep the plot cranking along at an excellent pace. The more obsessed and insistent that Alex becomes with Dan the more pressure you can feel within the film, almost like a suffocation feeling. The film emphasises this with constant phone calls from her character, at Dan's work and home, demonstrating her persistence. I interpreted Alex's character to be representative of Dan's guilt from the affair, and that, even though he wanted to stop seeing her, his guilt was always there, getting worse and worse, building throughout the movie. Throughout the film, Dan makes multiple efforts to disconnect himself from Alex, but she always strikes back in ways that imperil his marriage and his life. The film has excellent dialogue between the two main characters as things increase in intensity. There are a few parallels to the opera Madame Butterfly which are mentioned throughout the film.
The film is constructed very tightly. Once the film moves into its second act the scenes feel like they have certain urgency to them, and there is some quite well done camera work that captures a lot of Dan's struggles to keep his secrets hidden. Often the camera will fixate on one thing that is important to Dan and the audience, but Dan's wife, Anne, does not know about. This brings a lot of tension and dramatic irony to the visuals.
The acting is incredibly well done, too. Michael Douglas is wonderful to watch, and would later be typecast into sort of weak and fallible roles due to this movie. Glenn Close is also wonderful, and the two actors share engage in a sort of acting tug of war as they oppose each other. Glenn Close pushes her acting to be both believable and exaggeratedly menacing.
Fatal Attraction is a simple but effective film. Once the film gets going it is very hard to look away. The brilliant acting pits these two characters against each other, and the firm direction keeps the film building towards a spectacular final act.