Thursday, September 27, 2007

Closure: Grade B


Closure (aka: Straightaheads) (2007)

Gillian Anderson, Danny Dyer. Writer-Director Dan Reed. British.

This slightly claustrophobic revenge movie is extremely violent, much more so than a war or gangster movie showing dozens of people mowed down by automatic weapons or shot in the head by hired killers. Nor is it stylistic violence as in Kill Bill and similar movies. This is far more violent because the action is so personal and well motivated. Anderson and Dyer are beat up and raped by a cocaine-crazed gang on a lonely highway. As they slowly recover from their ordeal, Anderson accidentally discovers where the ringleader lives. The pair stalks him with a gun but Dyer is inclined to let it go while Anderson is bent on bloody revenge. But as developments ensue, Anderson becomes ambivalent. Then she gets over that and finds a brutal revenge that satisfies her, but then Dyer is suddenly unsatisfied and wants complete, bloodthirsty revenge, reversing their earlier dispositions. The scenes are so violent because we understand exactly what the perpetrators are trying to accomplish and we participate in their psychological need. Despite that considerable cinematic achievement, I thought the characters were so emotionally inconsistent that I often felt jerked around. This was true of the substory characters as well. Anderson and Dyer especially are alternately manic and depressive, filled with grim determination then ambivalence, compassion flipping to detachment. Maybe that’s how people would be in such a situation, but it didn’t seem authentic to me. Also, several story points were not properly motivated, such as having Dyer sneak into the bad guy’s house. Photography seemed dark and dreary; even the outdoor scenes, which was perhaps appropriate to the theme, but not very attractive to look at. Music was unintrusive. Despite some flaws then, after a slow start, the film gives a good ride if you can tolerate the violence.

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