Ah, this made my day. It’s from Jeff Wells’ new column.
Curiously, weirdly, Upcoming Movies editor Greg Dean Schmitz has for the last few months continued to fail to create a page for Mike Nichols’ CLOSER, an adaptation of Patrick Marber’s play that Columbia will be opening on December 3rd.
This despite the likely heat this thing will be bringing to the Oscar race, despite the obvious quality of the play (I wrote an admiring piece about it two or three months ago), and despite the implied promise of Nichols, a reliable actor’s director, taking Jude Law, Julia Roberts, Clive Owen and Nathalie Portman by the hand.
Well, perhaps intransigent Greg will change his tune after reading this report from a screening that happened last night (Tuesday, 6.1) at 7:30 pm at the AMC 7 in Santa Monica. It comes from a reader named Donlee Brussell.
“I just got out of the very first screening of CLOSER, and all I have to say is that the film is all you’d expect it to be and then some. Almost every single scene builds to astounding crescendos.
“Jude Law is good, but Clive Owen is the big scene-stealer. He steals every one he’s in. The range he shows when he breaks up with Anna (Roberts’ role)is amazing. Another scene he has with Portman in a strip club is just pitch perfect in the way he plays it.
“This film, more than CROUPIER or the upcoming KING ARTHUR, shows that Clive is really the Next Big Thing.
“And no, Julia Roberts does not fuck things up by relying on her usual tricks…laughing, flashing her teeth, the big smile, etc.
“After the film ended, there was some very long clapping. And for the first time ever at a research screening I’ve attended, not one person left before filling out the comment card. I wanted to be a part of the focus group afterwards, mainly to say that not a frame should be changed, but they already had enough yuppie couples.
“As is, CLOSER is the best thing I’ve seen all year. It’s certainly the best thing anyone in the film, including Nichols, has touched in years.
“There are some little details from the play that have been changed. We see the opening car accident, for example. And while the film has a rep as being erotic on some level, the only person with a nude scene is Clive Owen.
“Natalie Portman is a revelation. Along with her work in GARDEN STATE, her transition from teen to adult films is now complete.
“The funniest thing in the movie is an online conversation between Owen and Law where there is no spoken dialogue between them. I worry though that this scene and the Owen-Roberts break-up one might push the film to an NC-17 for dialogue alone, like it did with CLERKS and YOUR FRIENDS & NEIGHBORS.
“What made me love the film so much was how realistic so much of it felt — the dialogue, actions, reactions. Pretty much all the dialogue from Marber’s play is intact. The scenes go on for five minutes and are enthralling every second. The blocking is very theatrical as well, and I think that only served to help.
“I can’t stress how good this thing was. Expect to see some enthusiastic AICN reviews popping up starting on Wednesday. There’s definitely a buzz on this thing because there was a line around the block when I got there at 6:30. By the time I got up front, the line was around the block again, and theywere turning away more than half the people.
“I can only hope they promote it properly.”
I’ll probably update again later.