Fatal Attraction (18)

Review by Jack Foley

DVD SPECIAL FEATURES: Commentary by director Adrian Lyne; Forever Fatal: Remembering Fatal Attraction; Social Attraction; Visual Attraction; Rehearsal Footage; Alternate ending with introduction by Adrian Lyne; Theatrical trailer.

HAVING made audiences hot under the collar with Nine and a Half Weeks, Adrian Lyne turned up the temperature a notch further with Fatal Attraction - one of the best thrillers of the Eighties.

Michael Douglas stars as the happily married New York attorney who risks it all for an illicit weekend with Glenn Close's seriously unhinged business associate while wife, Anne Archer, is away.

The no-strings attached nights of passion soon turn into a nightmare for Douglas as Close reacts badly to the brush off, first by making insistent phone calls, then launching acid attacks on Douglas's car, until turning on the family pet and then becoming murderously psychotic.

James Dearden's teasing script cleverly handles the moral conundrum presented by Douglas's actions, playfully toying with the audiences' perceptions of the rights and wrongs of the situation (Douglas's insensitive chauvinism, Archer's wronged wife, Close's hysterical temptress), before handing over to Lyne for the crowd-pleasing final section, in which a knife-wielding Close takes on the husband and wife the audience has come to root for.

Upon its release in 1987, Lyne's film attracted notoriety for several reasons, most notably the raunchy sex scenes between the two principles which further pushed the boundaries of mainstream sex in the cinema. As a result, Lyne developed a reputation for high-concept, ultra-glossy sex thrillers (see also this year's Unfaithful), while Douglas cornered the market in angst-ridden males (see also Disclosure, Falling Down, Traffic, Basic Instinct, et al).

And then there was the bunny, the innocent family pet found boiling on top of a cooker, as the rift between Douglas and Close comes dramatically to the (erm) boil!

Fatal Attraction may ultimately be a triumph of stylised sex over substance (even if it does give some room for thought), but it is a well-acted and well-directed crowd-pleaser which was among the year's highest grossers upon its release. It's good, sexy fun for adults which is every bit as sharp as the blade on Close's final weapon of choice.

The DVD comes complete with rehearsal footage (always good for a giggle), reflections from Lyne and an alternate ending. It is well worth adding to any collection.