Preview by: Jack Foley
ANOTHER of this year's big Oscar contenders could well be Closer,
Mike Nichol's latest about the sexual shenanigans of a group of
people, based on a well-known play by Patrick Marber.
Jude Law, Natalie Portman, Clive Owen and Julia Roberts star
in the romantic thriller, which promises sequences of graphic
sexual dialogue, and Portman playing a stripper.
The films picks up as a photographer, Anna (Roberts), meets
an aspiring novelist, Dan (Law), during a photo shoot and bond.
As time passes, however, she meet and marries dermatologist, Larry
(Owen), while Dan begins dating Alice (Portman), a stripper.
But while Dan continues to see Anna on the side, their continued
liaisons spark a series of events that threaten to undermine all
of the relationships involved.
The film is being touted as a possible Oscar shot for both Roberts
and Portman, who are both credited with having strong female roles.
And Portman is certainly excited, describing Nichols as something
of a father-figure to her, and relishing the opportunity of expanding
her horizons by playing against type.
However, while much of being made
of Portman playing a stripper/pole dancer, she played down its
relevance when speaking in London recently.
"I try and do different things all the time. But I don’t
think of the character as a stripper or a pole dancer, she has
several different jobs throughout the story. That one just happens
to be the most salient one for audiences I suppose. It’s
not a conscious decision to show a new side – namely my
backside. It’s more just trying different things."
With that off her chest, she added: "The cast was incredible
and the director was the best in the world. And the writing was
really strong. It was an amazing experience."
Whether audiences will agree remains to be seen, although advance
word has been mixed.
The Hollywood Reporter, for instance, wrote that 'some may find
it 'honest' or 'revealing'.
Many others may recognise how shallow, even debased, the characters
are, each in his or her own way bent on destructive behaviour
certain to sabotage love relationships'.
And Slant Magazine noted tat 'naturally, the material attracted
Mike Nichols, who's made a career out of exploring the brutal
anatomy of modern romances'.
The film opens in the US on December 3 and follows in the UK
on January 14, 2005.