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Killing Me Softly (2002)

When boy meets girl the past can be a mystery

Directed by:

Chen Kaige

Rating: 6/10

Running Time: 96 minutes

UK Certificate: 18

On DVD

Country: United States

Heather Graham plays Alice, a nice normal designer, who is living with a dull but safe boyfriend. One day on the street, she meets mercurial mountaineer Adam (Joseph Fiennes) to whom she is immediately attracted and they begin a passionate affair. Other than the guilt he feels over the death of a previous girlfriend in a climbing accident, he appears to be perfect – handsome, passionate, famous and devoted. Within days, Alice has left her boyfriend for Adam, who proposes marriage and she accepts.

However, once married, Alice realises that she really knows nothing about Adam's past. His friends are welcoming and kind, but she knows nothing about the climbing world and is an outsider. A series of anonymous letters refer to events in Adam's past that seem to indicate that he is not what he appears to be. As Alice investigates further, she realises that the climbing accident may not even have been an accident and begins to believe that her husband may be dangerous. Yet she does not realise how complex and twisted this knot of obsession and jealousy has become.

This could have been a cutting thriller full of passion and obsession, but it fails to fulfil its promise. Although Fiennes turns in the best performance in the film and succeeds well as the creepy Adam, he is unable to inject enough tension into the generally predictable plot to lift it above the average. The passion doesn't often extend to the viewer, and so also fails to add tension to Alice and Adam's relationship. The characters have little depth and the plot is somewhat superficial.

Based on the best-selling novel by Nicci French, although those who have read the book are unlikely to recognise the plot.

It's Got: Joseph Fiennes who manages to be both creepy and sexy by turn.

It Needs: Lots more depth to both characters and plot.

DVD Extras Could certainly use a director’s commentary. The featurette is interesting. Extras: Trailer, Featurette. DVD Extras Rating: 5/10

Alternatives:

Basic Instinct, Secretary, Unfaithful

Summary

A creepy chiller that aspires to greatness but doesn’t achieve it. This film will successfully fill a couple of hours but then be forgotten.

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