an odd film from mike nichols (catch-22, who’s afraid of virginia woolf?, the graduate). odd because i didn’t know what to make of the ending. i think that that’s intentional. nichols wants you to know the power and effects of deceit. i think that clive owens is the key to the film because he’s the only character who never lies. everyone else, cheats and lies about it. he cheats and tells roberts about it. i won’t get into the plot anymore than that.
nichols takes all the love and sex out of the relationships. what we’re left with are relationships we know very little about. all we really know is how they are formed and how they end. it’s an interesting way of telling the story of a relationship, especially those as dysfunctional as the ones represented in this film. also of note is the way he advances time. without notice there will be a one year gap between scenes. it’s always linear, and it’s usually pretty easy to pickup, so i enjoyed the effective storytelling on that front. other than that, nichols captures the ugliness of the relationships well. i guess it was a good film because it made me think and nichols’ craft is well-honed here, but the story and characters were so ugly that the film was less enjoyable.