Friday, May 20, 2016

Fatal Attraction (1987)

Director: Adrian Lyne

Writer: James Dearden

Composer: Maurice Jarre

Starring: Michael Douglas, Glenn Close, Anne Archer, Ellen Hamilton Latzen, Stuart Pankin, Ellen Foley, Fred Gwynne, Meg Mundy, Tom Brennan, Lois Smith, Mike Nussbaum

More info: IMDb

Tagline: On the other side of drinks, dinner and a one night stand, lies a terrifying love story.

Plot: A married man's one night stand comes back to haunt him when that lover begins to stalk him and his family.

My rating: 7.5/10

Will I watch it again? Yes.

Good movie poster, good film.  It's been more than 25 years since I saw this (possibly in the theater in '87) and it still holds up as an effective thriller.  Lynne doesn't take long in setting things up.  Dan (Douglas) has a beautiful wife and family.  His flirting with Alex (Close) is innocent enough at first but it quickly escillates into a hot and heavy one night stand.  What's great about it is the pacing and performances, especially from Close and Douglas.  The little things they add make all the difference.  It's not glaringly obvious that these two characters are lying to each other except that Dan is an asshole for cheating on his wife (and so easily, too, without knowing if this is a normal thing for him) and Alex for completely misreading Dan into thinking he loves her after a poke in the whiskers.  It becomes clear that she's mental the next morning and she keeps adding layer upon layer of of obsession as the film progresses.  Both characters behave logically considering their predicament...until the climax where Alex has become so obsessed she's a knife-wielding psycho kitty.  That's when it becomes too much and steps over the line into ridiculous territory.  I don't know what the fix would be except to scale back the homicidal movie monster bit.  Composer Maurice Jarre is hit and miss but his moody score well plays the atmosphere required.  I was shocked to see that he won a Grammy for the soundtrack.  It's certainly no that good. The film was also nominated for an Oscar which blows me away.  It's good but...come on.  Close was rightfully nominated for Best Actress.  The Paramount DVD has a nice widescreen print with extras including 3 featurettes (about an hour in total), rehearsal footage (9 minutes), an alternate (the original) ending (9 minutes), commentary by Lynne and the anamorphic widescreen trailer. 

SPOILER ALERT....YARRRRR!!!  The alternate ending omits the crazy killer Alex and goes into deeper territory with Alex setting Dan up as her murderer.  In the scene where Dan confronts Alex, he takes the large kitchen knife from her and sets it down.  His prints are on the knife.  Later she slits her throat with that knife. The alternate ending starts with the cops showing up at Dan's house to arrest him for murdering Alex.  Naturally he's confused because he's innocent.  He tells his wife, Beth (Archer), to look in his desk for his attorney's phone number.  This is where the original ending fails me.  She finds the audio cassette Dan listened to earlier and listens to a part of it we haven't heard where Alex says the next time she tries to commit suicide she'll cut deeper.  Then we get a flashback to Alex slitting her neck (it's cringe-inducing) to the finale aria from Madame Butterfly.  I like dark endings and I would have loved to see Alex win with Dan going to jail for her murder.  It's wrong but it would be so fucked up.  We don't need Beth to find the tape.  Her finding hit means everything is going to be OK and I'm not convinced it should be. That ending would have required balls.  I can see why the people involved with the film who wanted to make as much money as possible scrapped it for the typical Hollywood ending. 

No comments:

Post a Comment