His Dark Materials
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I wanted to watched this because Natalie was in it. LUVED her in this. Otherwise this was a sad and depressing film. Clive's character: bullyish, course, and vulgar. Always luv Julia. She seemed to be the most sane of the 4, but think she made a bad decision in the end.
Amazing, im depressed
Closer: 8 out of 10: Mike Nichols directs this theater adaptation with a top-notch cast consisting of Natalie Portman, Jude Law, Julia Roberts, and Clive Owen. Portman and Owen went on to each win a Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role only to lose out in the same category at the Academy Awards to Cate Blanchett and Morgan Freeman respectfully.
The story is how these four people in two relationships (Portman/Law and Roberts/Owen) intertwine and destroy both their current relationships and each other.
The Good: The acting as one imagines is outstanding in this. Everyone seems to lift everyone else, and the awards committees got it right with Clive Owen and Natalie Portman. Those two are at another level here. Between the two of them, Owen has a much harder job as his character is less flashy and easily could have been eaten by the scenery. Machiavellian wheels are spinning behind his goofy facade, and subtle threat of violence towards both his enemies and his lovers are always just below the surface.
Many people will forever remember this film as the one where Natalie Portman plays a stripper. What is impressive is the scene in the airport hotel near the end of the film. She plays every tone so ideally, it is almost impossible to look away â" an incredible performance.
That said her stripper stuff is also awe-inspiring. I had never really thought of Natalie Portman as drop-dead gorgeous. I have changed my mind.
Mike Nichols is no stranger to directing plays nor directing theater adaptations. ('Angels in America' being one of the most impressive of the genre). He has a good eye for blocking and movement considering the piece consists of only four people talking with each other about things that happen off-screen. If you didn't know upfront that this was based on a play, you would eventually figure it out, but to Nichols credit, it could take a while.
The Bad: Jude Law and Julia Roberts each get the short straw in this quad. Their relationship makes little sense for either of them, and the story does them no favors. Jude Law doesn't look good in this film. He is starting to lose his hair and skin seems sallow. He has a job that is such a dead end that the symbolism is a bit on the nose. Oh and he is a duplicitous stalker creep. So why is Julia Roberts doing anything other than getting a restraining order? Whatever the appeal is it happened offscreen, and neither Roberts no Law sell any real relationship. It is believable that they could hook up for sex mind you. Both have no moral compass whatsoever. It just isn't plausible that any such tryst wouldn't end permanently with the calling of a cab.
The film takes dramatic time jumps without telling the audience. On one level I like the way Nichols trusts his audience to figure out that it is a year later just based on dialogue. On the other hand, a lot has happened during the time skipped, and it isn't always clear what. This dependence on offscreen action results in a lot of the possible tension being out of the piece as we start at the end a then describe what has transpired.
The Ugly: Thor came out seven years after this. What were the producers thinking? All the had to do is give Natalie Portman a wig (Blonde, Pink or Purple) and tell her to play this character but instead of being in love with a declining Jude Law she has to be in love with Chris Hemsworth. Honestly, I would like to recut all of Natalie Portman's films and replace whatever her current performance is with this Manic Pixie Dream Girl she conjured for this film.
In Conclusion, I am having a hard time nailing down how much I like this film. The Jude Law/ Julia Roberts scenes really take the wind out of the sails but then Clive and Natalie show up, and I am loving life again. Overall I have a feeling parts of this film will stick in my mind long after most movies are forgotten and for that reason, I can't help but recommend.
Totally disgusting movie. I walked out and had a talk with the theatre manager and the censor office about showing this to 14+.
Uncomfortable watch about trash people who are exceptionally good looking. Do not care for these characters. Oh and did I mention no fewer than two full track James Blunt moments. Solid two star waste of time.
Human nature is unbelievable and the film shows this very well... However, some attitudes of the characters are exageded.
Clive Owen is stand out in this movie. Natalie and Jude were great, but not so much Julia Roberts. Maybe I would have chosen someone who isnt quite so nice in real life. Maybe someone nasty like Charlize Theron. Best scenes. The Aquarium and the mistaken identity and the Jude Law/Clive Owen meeting in his office. Clive Owen owns every scene he is in. Shame he was overlooked for James Bond. My interest wore as it went along. Still all great even with a miscast Julia.
Abysmal : we only watched it to the end because we'd already abandoned another film earlier! Drivel.
Avoid this film at all cost. What a loser, downer, sad experience.
A really dumb movie trying extremely hard to be smart but failing miserably, to my eyes.