Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB. USA, 1987. Screenplay by James Dearden, based on his short film. Cinematography by Howard Atherton. Produced by Sherry Lansing, Stanley R. Jaffe. Music by Maurice Jarre. Production Design by Mel Bourne. Costume Design by Ellen Mirojnick. Film Editing by Peter E. Berger, Michael Kahn. Academy Awards 1987. Golden Globe Awards 1987.
Michael Douglas plays a hapless married man who is left alone for the weekend by his beautiful and ever-so-patient wife (Anne Archer). While his wife is away, he meets Alex (Glenn Close), they tryst at her apartment, spend a weekend together and then go their separate ways. Trouble is, she doesn’t want to let him go back to his wife, opting instead to become a villain who is treated as evil when really she is criminally insecure. No one ever forces Mike to rue his mistakes: he has cheated on his wife but also takes his mistress on picnics and frolics with her in the park (he even brought the family dog!) and then decides that it is only casual because he wants it to be so. As one of my good friends so brilliantly put it, don’t participate in the montage unless you’re willing to stick around for the long run. Furthermore, no one ever forces Deardon to take responsibility for using the determined, self-confident woman as a template for the most unspeakable nastiness (a witch who screams like a banshee and brandishes a huge knife like she’s in a slasher-movie). On the upside, the movie is slick and well edited, featuring a great image-breaking performance by Close that almost convinces you that the movie is worth taking seriously. Clint Eastwood managed to make the same movie years earlier without being quite so narrow-minded about it.