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Film Review - Fatal Attraction

Essay by   •  May 27, 2011  •  Book/Movie Report  •  1,850 Words (8 Pages)  •  3,619 Views

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Fatal Attraction is a 1987 film directed by Adrian Lynne. This movie is a riveting psychosomatic thriller, starring Michael Douglas, Glenn Close, and Anne Archer. Lynne captured the essence of the zeitgeist with this classical thriller; this isn't an ordinary suspense movie, rather more of a stalker murder mystery. A seemingly happily married New York attorney (Michael Douglas) has a one night stand with a new associate editor (Glenn Close). Alex Forrest, played by Close, launches into an unwavering quest to stalk Michael Douglas and his family. The movie starts out with a steamy sex scene between the two esteemed actors (Douglas & Close) groping at each other like there's no tomorrow. This film started out as what could be seen as an erotic thriller, however the storyline shifted into gear with attention-grabbing, unpredictable scenes. In the second half, it starts to rise and pulsate into intense mind games.

This film will draw you in and make you empathize with Dan played by Douglas, before you even realize it has happened. The degree of cinematic elements and emotions director Adrian Lyne incorporated in the film makes it quite difficult to watch with disinterest. The basic concept was a classic morality story that went deep within the characters to see what is there. This phenomenal movie shows us just what that is, through Douglas's character.

What's there is a frightened, weak, self-absorbed, and ineffectual man, who's living out the old adage of having his cake and eating it too. He is a man who seems to think his wife isn't paying him enough attention, which left an opening for the wrong woman. In Archer's character we find a dutiful, loyal somewhat estranged wife and doting mother, who has a habit of dressing their six-year old daughter in the same baggy attire as she wore throughout the movie. From her oversized shirts, to her onesies night gown. Glen Close's character Alex, the other woman, appears to be suffering from Borderline Personality Disorder. On the surface Douglas and Archer seem to be a happily married couple. In the scene after Dan meets Alex, husband and wife are retiring for the night. An intimate moment seems imminent at least until the Beth, reminds Dan that something more important should proceed their time together "Aren't you forgetting something?" referring to the waiting dog in the hallway. After walking the dog he finds their daughter snuggled in their bed next to his wife. The look that transpires between them reads as though this has been a reoccurring theme; she attempts to smooth it over by telling him "It's just for tonight, honey." This is the audience first look into what is there in their marriage (SergeiK, 2011).

A very effective technique used in this film was visibly defined around an opposition of day and night, playing off the two worlds, switching back between Dan's normal world and the his fantasy world, where he hung his hat for that one haunting weekend. The dichotomy of these two worlds is linked to the lighting technique used. When the scenes are shot in the daylight it is metaphorically linked to his domestic world with his wife and the seedy dark night life setting is connected to Alex his deadly one night stand. Even the corridor in Alex's building is dark and her neighbor is located near an industrialized meat plant. This is in complete contrast to the inside of her apartment which is bright and airy with white linen and white painted walls, which comes off to the audience as medicinal, and cold similar to her cut throat personality.

The subject of this film is about a man making a really risky decision, when he thought he could get away with playing around on his marriage without any consequences, while his wife was away. He learned too late that he was playing with fire. The subject of this film revealed a thriller with a murderous and passionate twist. A key component is the precise use of sound, editing and music. These elements allow the audience to delve into the characters even deeper. For instance, when Dan was in the park with Alex and the family dog, the music matched their energetic and carefree attitude. Later on, Dan's sense of fear is seen after she mercilessly continues to attack everything he loves. From boiling the family pet bunny, when his wife is walking towards the kitchen, the sound of the water boiling on the stove is intensified by the music that accompanies it. Likewise when Alex kidnapped their daughter and finally attempting to kill his wife, the volume intensity of the music is juxtaposed to the emotion of the scene. These cinematic elements also collaborate with keeping the audience in line with each character.

None of the three characters roles were inconsistent. Starting with the accuracy of how Alex's behavior was portrayed. One scene in particular happened when her character was listening to Madame Butterfly, and stares off into space while flicking the lamp off and on, showing how abnormal her personality is. Her obsession and the lengths she will go to in order to get what she wants are unnerving. Her pursuit in punishing him and his family, and getting his attention seems to be unending.

Beth continues being a passive, dutiful, loyal wife and mother, her character does not stray from this role. Even after their terrible ordeal where they both are fighting for their lives with Alex and her devotion continues even after she kills Alex. At the end of the movie, Beth is hugging her husband and metaphorically walking off into the sunset of their domesticated bliss, in spite of it all. Dan character is also unwavering, he stays consistent in trying to keep his extramarital affair and his family life separate for as long as he can, until both world collides. One example



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