THE COMFORT OF STRANGERS — SHOCKTOBER!
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Working from a screenplay by British master of dramaturgy Harold Pinter and Ian McEwan, Schrader draws us into a tourist's eye vision of Venice via young lovers, played by Rupert Everett and Natasha Richardson.
Our hopeful romantics are vacationing for their second visit to Venice to decide whether or not to up the ante on their seven-year relationship.
Mary (Richardson) has two children from a former marriage. She naturally seeks the stability that marrying Colin (Everett) could bring.
However, Colin is mercurial to a flaw. His classic British handsomeness makes Colin an object of desire to both men and women in Venice.
Enter Robert (Christopher Walken), an aristocratic ex-pat living with his BDSM abused wife Caroline (Helen Mirren).
Robert owns a local restaurant where he regales his new friends with intimate stories from his childhood as the son of a diplomat.
What transpires involves Robert's and Caroline's web that the couple weave to entrap Mary and Robert in a psychologically transformative act.
Although not a great choice for a date movie, "The Comfort Of Strangers" is a brilliantly crafted psychological thriller.
Natasha Richardson gives a stunning performance, as does Helen Mirren, Rupert Everett, and the incomparable Christopher Walken as a narcissist with a game-ending plan for destruction.
Ian McEwan thoroughly roasts the narcissistic corporate ideology of the rich to a burnt crisp.
Placing "The Comfort Of Strangers" alongside other Venice-set films (see "Death In Venice" and "Don't Look Now") won't do much for making you want to visit Venice.
Win some, lose some.
Straight masterpiece this movie.