Sunday, December 09, 2007

Is it pronounced "Closer" or "Closer"?

I just got finished watching the movie "Closer". I'm glad that this isn't an audio format, because then I'd have to pronounce the title, which can be alternatively "closer" to reflect approaching nearness, or "clozer" as a person who closes something. I can't recall any of the press regarding this film, so I can't recall what the producers thought. And the film has no commentary track, so I can't tell what the director or writers thought. I can see either pronunciation being correct, as there are elements of both words in the story.

The idea of the film is like the romantic comedy to end all romantic comedies. Serious star power, with a power quartet of leading actors (Jude Law, Clive Owen, Natalie Portman, and Julia Roberts). A couple meets another couple, sparks fly, partners get exchanged. It's as old as Shakespeare and beyond.

But this isn't a film sculpted out of cotton candy. It's set in London, but not the London of romantic comedies where the Beatles always seems to be playing and all the main characters continually walk past British flags. This would be the cold and sterile London of reality, where it looks as if the sky were replaced by a thick gray blanket just out of the range where one might be able to see the threads.

It's tempting, I'm sure, to classify the characters in this movie as "not good people". They cheat, lie, betray each other, and are sometimes unrepentant. That's what happens if you compare this movie with a list of life sins and a clipboard. Yes, they are all of these things, yet the movie isn't really ABOUT any of them. Things that would be major plot points in other films (sleeping with a prostitute) are brushed aside in favor of the bared watch-workings of the characters dignity and psychology.

I think all of the characters strive for normalcy, but have no idea how to navigate the traps of life in order to get there. Each of them are empathetic and each has less-than-glamorous aspects of their personalities.

The movie creates a good "real-life" fable, because it doesn't think it's a movie. Probably because it started out as a play. Everyone keeps making decisions that will last a lifetime, but finding out the choices only last until the next turn.

It might exhausting for the watchers, though. I kept getting trapped by my own conventions. So many comedies seen. So much need for a happy ending. When the movie does drift back to romance, it's usually a setup for a confrontation. A diverting of expectations, something that might be called a deceptive cadence in music.

It's a good film, and an excellent one to watch on a cold December day with ice whipping around outside. It's not for kids, though, or those with weak tolerance for sexual conversation. It is an adult movie, not in the sense of having graphic nudity everywhere. The characters are adults and act like adults and don't care whom they hurt. In retrospect, it's a sad story full of people who get disappointed, which is often connected with being "an adult", anyhow.

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