A Louise Malle masterpiece of unbridled passion! (by yossarian100)
Fatale Damage is one of the most deeply lustful and emotionally charged films I've seen in years, a true Louise Malle masterpiece of unbridled passion. The love scenes are hot, to say the least, and I'll never be able to look at Julliet Binochet again without remembering them. Jeremy Irons does incredible work here and Amanda Richardson, who's part really doesn't require much during most of the movie, actually steals the film with some over the top acting at the end. However, it's Julliet Binochet who anchors this fine movie with her riveting performance and her strong <more>
and quite impressive visual presence. I simply couldn't take my eyes off her whenever she was on screen.
It's been accused of being a cold study in sterile eroticism, a completely passionless love story, and a rip-off of LAST TANGO IN Paris. Whatever it is, Louis Malle's movie DAMAGE is an unforgettable experience that takes the viewer into a story of cloying obsession that spins out of control and literally "damages" every player in the movie.The story is simple. Dr. Stephen Fleming meets his son Martyn's fiancée Anna Barton during a social gathering and from the moment they lock eyes on each other, Stephen feels his own world start to crumble. A quiet scene in which <more>
Jeremy Irons stands in his living room surveying his Architectural Digest house, looking completely bored, is telling. He receives a phone call. It's Anna. She, interestingly enough, wants to meet him. He goes to see her, and finds her sitting in a chair, regarding him with haunted eyes. From then on, they embark in an affair that is supposed to be torrid but comes off as increasingly disturbing -- indeed, the camera has them at one point making love while covering their eyes, as if they were practising some mechanic erotic session. It's art directed within an inch of its life, and that makes it more unsettling.Anna, in the meantime, has let Stephen know that she will not leave his son, and that she is damaged: hence the title. Of course, a man of Stephen's stature would know better even when Anna's mother Leslie Caron drops by and hints that maybe it's best that he not pursue Anna. However, a man in lust can't be dissuaded that simply, but neither can a woman whose motives for pursuing a relationship with her fiancée's father seems to be out of the need to get caught at one point.When it happens, it has the deadly silence of time standing still. Martyn effectively because a sacrificial lamb to the pair's illicit love affair, and this has more repercussions as it finally smashes the crystal ball the Fleming's household always was. Miranda Richardson, as Ingrid Fleming, explodes in a moment of rage so raw she practically bleeds out of the movie's frame. She makes you despise Stephen. It's a moment that truly elevates the movie from its soap origins and plunges it into a void where there is no escape.DAMAGE has the luminous and haunting presence of Juliette Binoche in a role tailor made for her. With those deep, dark eyes, the alabaster skin, and that cold beauty, she conveys her character's dysfunction only in hints here and there, and is a precursor to what she would further in the character she played in TROIS COULEURS: BLEU. I can understand why a man like Stephem Fleming would have fallen so hard for her to a point where he is literally ill at the thought of not having her. Irons, too, is excellent as Stephen -- his chiseled features play well with his character's hunger for something else than routine.
I found "Damage" to be very authentic in its depictions. At the outset, the family seems perfectly normal, insular, self-absorbed, bored by lack of challenge and predictable patterns of action whether socially or sexually. The father is at that dangerous point in middle age, where so many men become disaffected with careers, marriages, children, past interests: The mother,whose true love in life in her son, which while not having reached the point of physical incest, is as obsessive as the father's later actions; the son, who grieves for a closer relationship with his father who <more>
knows he is second best in his wife's eyes; the daughter who is probably the sharpest one of all; the daughter's boyfriend with his headphones...all show the detachment so often seen in family relationships.When the son introduces his sophisticated, unscrupulous girlfriend into the mix it is an impending train wreck . She is a serial man killer, probably once in actuality, we are given to believe, in the death of her brother, and figuratively many times, as warned by her mother to the father-in-law-to-be. She is the pursuer and Fleming is the pursued. She is emotionally cold but sexually insatiable. This is frequently the outcome of sexual abuse at the hands of a sibling.The mood, scenery, and music were all well-orchestrated and the actors were all excellent. The wife's anguish is an outstanding performance.Jeremy Iron's wonderful wreck of a face can convey dissolution better any other actor.
Excellent...for those who love obsessive, unexplainable, passionate love. (by workerbee2222)
I enjoyed this movie immensely...so much so, I own it. The characters are beautiful, the story has a dreamy quality to it. Jeremy Irons is superb as a man, innocent in his way, protected, sheltered by his wealthy wife and her family, ready to be corrupted for his own good. He's in desperate need of change and Juliette Binoche's character is just what life has ordered. Juliette Binoche's character is fabulous and extraordinarily ethereal. Though there is tragedy for one of the family members, the chemistry, once again, btwn the two main characters is enough to carry the story. For <more>
those into astrology, these two actors are polar opposites Virgo, Jeremy Irons and Pisces, Juliette Binoche which makes for fantastic natural chemistry btwn the two. If you liked this, you'll enjoy "Beseiged", with Thandie Newton.
"What really makes us is beyond grasping" (by rhinocerosfive-1)
Jeremy Irons wears Saville Row, rides a chauffeured limousine, drinks whisky from cut glass, as a goose wears down. Born to it. And Louis Malle always displays the glory and horror of passion just like a Frenchman, with discretion and Grand Guignol in equal measure. Taste, they call it.But Juliette Binoche - not since Ingrid Bergman has sadness been so exciting. Her tears taste of chocolate and strawberries. She wears sexuality as a Giaconda mask, and makes a strong case for Da Vinci's muse having been an unwilling purveyor of incestuous fratricide. After this film, it's hard for me <more>
to imagine a stronger reason for the Louvre's most famous resident's famous enigma.Malle films with an eye not gimlet, not jaundiced, yet wicked and joyous and deadly as love itself. His casting is irrefutable: movies have had a crush on Rupert Graves since his floppy hair stole scenes in ROOM WITH A VIEW, so who better to crucify on the altar of obsession? Whom would we pity more as the betrayed wife than the multiply reinvented Miranda Richardson, who played the vicious murderess of CRYING GAME and this noble housewife back-to-back? But who would have thought Peter Stormare could play anything like sympathy? And my God - Leslie Caron as the voice of reason? But this is not just gamesmanship. This is a director, too, so in command of his art that I forget completely that it's a movie. The story is all. The colors and textures of costume, set and location, the editing as fine as angel's hair, the loving grace notes in every performance acclaim his power. David Hare, too, deserves more than a little notice. I don't always like his plays: they never seem to me to have enough of the fire of life in them. Perhaps I'm not smart, dull or British enough to appreciate them - I much prefer the stage work of his sometime collaborator Howard Brenton. But what Hare does here with Josephine Hart's McNovel - a sparse if effective series of aphorisms - is simply lovely. There's not much new in the movie, but the moments have a cohesion under Hare that never materializes in the book. He has created his own share of small scenes, a sweet glue defining and shaping the action. The madness of infatuation and the awful thrill of discovery, the vacancy of parents and the callousness of their children, the delirious lethargy of the ruling class - all serve double and triple duty, reflecting theme in moment at every opportunity. Zbigniew Preisner's score illustrates these glimpses with massive delicacy, reminding us once again why American directors prefer the crashing obviousness of James Horner or James Newton Howard. He only allows the blare of saxophone at the climax, a hideous, cheap bray as tawdry as lust.That final moment: that piece of cheese, the lonely psychotic acquiescence of that room - what is it about European artists that makes them so much better able than Americans to deal with the complexities of humanity? Is it the weariness of two thousand years' more time to contemplate the horrors of disaffection? Is it the maturity of possession and loss? All those empires in ruin surely must add domestic perspective. And those, perhaps, are not as enviable as the artistry they spawn. How good and sweet to be a young and virile nation, even stupid, even callow, even in early decline!
I've seen this movie several times and keep coming back to it. It's a marvelous story of obsessive love and to what it can lead. Irons is wonderfully cast as the man with a ho-hum life and what he can become. Do not watch this movie with an eye towards morality. He did wrong, period. But the exploration of the wrong deed is stunning. Malle's direction was excellent. Irons' run down the spiral staircase is permanently etched in my mind. I'll keep watching this movie over and over, over the years.
what happens when you don't wear underwear (by blanche-2)
Jeremy Irons and Juliette Binoche do some "Damage" in this 1992 film also starring Miranda Richardson, Rupert Graves, Ian Bannen and Leslie Caron. Irons is a British cabinet minister who falls for his son's girlfriend Binoche , a deeply disturbed young woman.Despite the facetiousness of my summary line, this is quite a brilliant film about emotionally damaged people and obsession. It also comes off as very realistic because the emotions are portrayed so honestly. On the surface, it seems ridiculous, sort of a sex-change version of The Graduate, with Binoche involved with both <more>
father and son. Here is the Irons character, Dr. Stephen Fleming, with a brilliant career, a beautiful wife Richardson whose father Bannen has had a brilliant career; they have two children and a lovely home and lifestyle. Why threaten it with a tawdry affair? I kept thinking what an idiot Irons was throughout the film, yet we know that in real life, people have played Russian roulette with their careers before.It's clear when Anna seeks out Stephen and introduces herself that her attachment to Martyn Graves was simply to get to him - and she does -immediately. All they can do is stare at one another. When she invites him to her apartment, she is sitting on the edge of her bed. Seeing him, she sinks to the floor, her arms outstretched. Because she never wears underwear, they can usually have sex with most of their clothes on and have it anywhere - street corners, tables, Stephen's father-in-law's house. The sex isn't particularly erotic to watch; it's awkward-looking because of the frenzy involved.Part of the obsession for Stephen is the unleashing of passion that's been sublimated; part of it is the danger - and is part of it having something he didn't have in his own youth that his son has now? Does he look at Martyn and see that Martyn's life is ahead of him and that he, Stephen, is no longer "young?" Possible. Is he angry with Martyn for replacing him in his wife's affections? Perhaps. For Anna, the motives and thrills are different - due to a tragedy in her life involving her brother who apparently was in love with her too, she is playing some weird psychological game in which there is no real winner.The acting is marvelous - Binoche is exquisitely dressed though some of those marvelous clothes are ripped off of her - she brings an exotic, androgynous and mysterious quality to the role of Anna. Irons is excellent as an up-tight father and half-crazed lover. Leslie Caron has a small role as Anna's mother. She's lovely as ever and strong in a dramatic role of a woman who drinks a little but who nevertheless has Stephen's number.The last 30 minutes of this movie are some of the most shattering moments in film, and what makes them so shattering is not only the situation but the absolutely devastating, visceral, no holds barred performance by Miranda Richardson. She is ably supported by a writer and director who both knew something about profound pain. Her performance is great - that she had the material to give that performance and a director who let her go makes this film truly unforgettable.When Damage is over, you won't be the person you were when you started watching it. It's so rare nowadays to see such a fascinating, character-driven film. It will stay with you for a long time.
I have read some of the reviews on Damage and hope that for someone who hasn't seen it they don't go in expecting some silly little erotic love triangle because this is a lot more then that and, though the story is very well done, it is very difficult to get through. It's NOT light viewing.Damage is a searing and intense look at the dark side of human nature. You may want to read the book before you see the film . This so much more then a LOVE TRIANGLE! It examines issues of morality and doing the "right thing" versus giving in to what is basically "forbidden <more>
fruit". This story is completely different then "American Beauty" but the tragic tone is set and people who like American Beauty may like this. Josephine Hart has another book called "Sin" that's even better then Damage that I would also recommend although it also has that darkly tragic tone from the beginning. That one also involves family members, in that case the two main characters are sisters. I do not think "Sin" has been made into a movie though I could be wrong. In any case-Hart is a master story teller and this is a tragic multi character study but hardly light viewing! Know what your getting into before you get into it and if you haven't, read the book as well. Amazing!
I like this movie, not so much because of its analysis of but because of the directness with which it portrays obsessive behavior and the price it demands. All the action struck me as very immediate and real, not contrived in any degree. We read about such behavior every day, be it the bank teller who embezzles huge sums to feed a crack habit, or the respectable family man who throws everything away on a gamble.Some, undoubtedly, will be put off by the film's graphic sexuality. But I'm one who regards all human activity as some form of sexual expression. To me the sexuality was simply <more>
a medium. The drives, the betrayals, the lies, and the ultimate tragedy were the real story.I also regard Anna as a tragic character, not self-indulgent or spoiled. Watching her play out the drama with Stephen is like watching Greek tragedy. She knows what's coming, but it has to be, and she really can do nothing to stop it. And when the story comes to it's resolution I pity her. She knows the damage she's done, and now she has to go on and repeat the tragedy. And it all stems from her sense of original sin with her brother.There's a parallel here with Brenda and her brother in HBO's Six Feet Under.I also like the fact the it ends with more questions than answers. When Stephen is talking to the detective following the death of his son the man asks, "And your son didn't know about your affair?" Stephen shakes his head matter-of-factly. The detective responds, "Are you sure?" For just a moment the camera makes it evident that, no, Stephen is not sure. And as he regards the photograph at the end, what is it he's searching for in those faces? His son looking at Anna, he looking at his son, and Anna looking straight at the camera.Truly an interesting and stylish drama of human relationships that could be quite immediate, quite real.