2004, US, directed by Mike Nichols
Despite the presence of four arrestingly attractive actors, Closer is no-one's idea of a date movie - although Todd Solondz might find it amusing. The four leads - the film was written by Patrick Marber, from his own play, and he's made no attempt to open the action up, notwithstanding some chilly London locations - become involved with and betray one another in what is apparently supposed to be some kind of commentary on contemporary mores but which ultimately becomes a rather numbing and sterile exercise. Marber's characters are uniformly disagreeable; there's no real tension in a film where the principals so richly deserve one another, notwithstanding the excuses they attempt to make for their behaviour. It's a shame, really, because director Mike Nichols wastes several solid performances, especially from Clive Owen, who adds a fire that seems at odds with the very mannered dialogue and which occasionally hints at an actual human soul, if not necessarily a very pleasant one.