A story of passionate obsession.
An Italian diplomat's son follows and seduces English lovers in Venice.
An Italian diplomat's son follows and seduces English lovers in Venice.
Утешение незнакомцев, Estranha Sedução
I've warned before of the obvious and inevitable sexual/existential trap that is bourgeois relationship-rejuvenating European travel. I'd like to add one more caveat to this: do not get involved with a couple of creepy, clearly predatory swingers, even if they are Christopher Walken and Helen Mirren.
the fuk, not comforting at all
Top 5 Christopher Walken Monologues
5. Man on Fire
4. Poolhall Junkies
3. The Comfort of Strangers
2. Pulp Fiction
1. True Romance
as with all top-tier Schrader, if you told me this movie was directed by a virgin, i would believe you
The Comfort of Strangers. 1990. Directed by Paul Schrader.
The Comfort of Strangers is a like a vacation in Venice, Italy with two gorgeous movie stars: Natasha Richardson and Rupert Everett. As Angelo Badalamenti’s composition plays and Dante Spinotti’s cinematography moves ones spirit, this film reveals its inner beauty and secret, ugly underbelly. At first, it seems that Everett and Richardson are the main plot thesis as they contemplate their relationship. In other words, they are deciding whether to marry. Then, there is the the dubious photographs being taken of Everett and Richardson. What is their fate in Venice? Christopher Walken and Helen Mirren seem like the perfect hosts. But, there is more than meets the eye here. The editing…
Based on the novel by Ian McEwan, Paul Schrader film's version utterly fails in it's transition from page to screen. Gifted with a tremendous cast, especially Walken and Mirren, the movie feels like it's constantly at war with itself. I thought the movie took leaps that the text didn't support and it feels disjointed as a result both tonally and structurally. Even on a base level, the movie fails on its promise of being a watchable erotic thriller. I was hoping for high art and I didn't even get guilty pleasure late night Cinemax. The movie feels like it's constantly boiling and it never comes close to erupting. The ambiguity in the source material is simply maddening in film form as it's completely unsatisfying.
The Criterion Channel – Film #18
"Are you in love?"
The Comfort of Strangers is consumed with the subtextual, giving every breath, glance, and caress a greater palette of meaning to temptingly draw from. The film's at once impenetrably discreet yet totally undisguised in both motive and method, the latter of which sees director Paul Schrader operating at a level of simmering hypnotism that's voyeuristic in technique and unsparing in effect. Of course we must commend Harold Pinter's thoroughly disquieting adaptation of Ian McEwan's alluring cat-and-mouse tale centered on the fall of one vacationing couple and the unconquerable decay of their relationship. His pages galvanize Schrader's haunted vision, a nebulous Venetian nightmare further aroused by Angelo Badalamenti's imposing score and…
Hmmmm... in terms of photography, this is definitely Paul Schrader’s prettiest looking movie; working with the Venice dusk, from ceiling angles with rays of light highlighting a distraction, thoughts in the back of the central lovers minds as they attempt to reconnect on holiday. Armani designed the clothes, too, so this all looks great before you even get to the disrobed and enticing pair of Rupert Everett and Natasha Richardson. But everything that I think doesn’t work in this movie comes from analyzing the reveal, so I can’t really discuss it. But it’s a house of cards and maybe it was shocking in the 80s for the book and 90s for the movie but childhood abuse leading to suppression leading…
With a Tennessee Williams quote for a title, this is unsettling psychosexual intrigue in Venice, the most Southern Gothic of European cities. Paul Schrader and DP Dante Spinotti lushly fetishize decadent Venice: the watery palazzos, ogee archs, crumbling stucco, frescos, and Rupert Everett’s torso. Based on one of Ian McEwan’s early, dangerous, pre-Atonement novels, it looks fabulous, is stocked with a quartet of great leads, but ultimately struggles to translate the book’s unique, discomfiting sexual frisson.
"I knew that fantasy was passing into reality. Have you ever experienced that? It's like stepping into a mirror."
I anticipated overtones of Don't Look Now going into this, given the Venetian setting. What I didn't expect was to be reminded of Eyes Wide Shut as well. Like Kubrick's later effort, The Comfort of Strangers is a deep dive into both the psychosexual and the sociological. We analyse the relationship of this central couple (Rupert Everett & Natasha Richardson), and are engrossed by the involvement of their creepy counterparts (Christopher Walken & Helen Mirren). All involved do an excellent job - Richardson in particular is unbearably desirable - while Paul Schrader photographs proceedings expertly. Part of me wishes he had taken things…
“Fantasy was passing into reality.”
A perfectly inscrutable movie, all beautiful shots of beautiful people in beautiful places wearing beautiful clothes and handling beautiful objects. Venice is a cryptic labyrinth made of sex and illusion, where fishermen become waiters, the machine fucks you, and the impossible surrealities at the heart of the city will eat you alive.
“We’re on the other side of the mirror.”
Not like I would be surprised to see that Paul Schrader could make one truly gorgeous looking film - especially given the film's setting, but I think that The Comfort of Strangers only finds itself becoming all the more alluring just on the count of how Schrader doesn't ever hold back on the film's most bizarre performances from being exactly that. With dialogue lifted straight from Ian McEwan's book, there's a stinted quality to Schrader's work that only creates a feeling of awkwardness, but it also best reflects the characters' inner thoughts and presents a psychologically complex work - as per the course of Schrader at his very best.
I might just have to give the book a read now.
Two couples. One knows who they are and what they want. The other is adrift, unsure. And in the end, the couple who has it all figured out wins. Interesting dissection of the masculine and feminine with wonderful production design. Just wish things had added up a bit more. But then it wouldn't be the same movie, would it?
This is very Pinteresque on account of how it is.
Beautiful beautiful beautiful
Why would I think this Pinter/ Schrader mashup would end happily.
I don’t know what it is but I love this movie. On the second watch I noticed a lot of things I missed the first time and I just found more and more to like about this movie. The lack of connection between the couples yet you can tell they do feel something for each other they just don’t know what it is. Spoilers I guess but the mystery of who is following them and taking pictures. Just so many things we never fully get answers for but you can put together but it’s never out right said. I just love it all, also the city is just gorgeous and the people are just gorgeous. Natasha Richardson was one of…
Pocas veces la palabra "pasión" la había visto en una forma retratada tan peculiarmente sincera como lo hizo Paul Schrader en ésta película.
Probably one of Paul Schrader's best looking film, it's too bad the script is so weak. No one does anything with any real motivation, which is too bad.
I haven't mentioned it publically but my family and I are visiting Sicily in a couple weeks and I'm fantastically excited. I hope this doesn't happen to me though!
Anyway I know it's based on a book which means Paul probably didn't decide to set it in Venice but he shoots the shit out of Venice anyway which is to say he knows exactly how to make all that islamic architecture look like titties.
Perverts against the wall. Pinter and Schrader is like psychosexual chocolate and pervert peanut butter.
This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
A pair of young lovers travel to Venice to fix their relationship but once they meet a seductively deadly Christopher Walken things become more… complicated.
An ominous and mesmerizing look at relationships, sexuality, and the dichotomy between pain and pleasure. Armed with the Harold Pinter dialogue, this erotically charged drama that defies categorization is a ‘90s classic from Paul Schrader. Sure, some of the dialogue might not fly today but the haunting Angelo Badalamenti score mixed with the unnerving Dante Spinotti camerawork, make THE COMFORT OF STRANGERS an odd and unclassifiable experience.
The city of Venice is beautifully shot and has a sinister quality during those night shoots (it definitely recalls DON’T LOOK NOW) but it adds to the incredible…
Venice is spectacularly shot. Walken is miscast.
Keenan Tamblyn 600 films
Found these lists (twelve total which I've compiled) a couple years back and they slowly became my bible for weird…