Reviews

Closure

Jake Meaney

Even if you are a die hard Gillian Anderson fan, you can find better ways to occupy 80 minutes of your time than watching this.


Closure

Director: Dan Reed
Cast: Gillian Anderson, Danny Dyer, Ralph Brown, Kate Bunten, Antony Byrne
Distributor: Sony
MPAA rating: R
Studio: Sony
First date: 2007
US DVD Release Date: 2007-09-18

What an ugly little movie. Closure (aka Straightheads in its native UK), a particularly disagreeable and unsatisfying revenge thriller, would barely warrant a mention, let alone a viewing, if it weren’t for the presence here of Gillian Anderson, who, I’m sad to report, seems to have fallen on particularly lean times career wise, or is in desperate need of a better agent, or both (that heavily rumored sequel cannot come soon enough). A few minor triumphs playing rigidly icy, but secretly smoldering, society women corseted by Victorian prudery (The House of Mirth, and the BBC’s excellent miniseries of Bleak House) aside, Anderson has been all but missing since the end of the X-Files, appearing in a few minor support roles here or there, but otherwise off the radar.

Unfortunate, then, that she chose Closure to mark her return to a leading role. Given very little to work with -- just the barest wisp of a character invented solely to be put through the wringer of crassly violent manipulation - Anderson acquits herself as well as she can as Alice, a (get this) chilly, steely-eyed, tight lipped, but secretly fiery, career woman working her way up the corporate ladder for some unspecified firm. One night, on a whim, she decides to invite the young man who has been installing alarms in her flat (Adam, played by one Danny Dyer, who never looks anything but totally lost) to accompany her to a party thrown by her boss. The party is located somewhere deep in the woods outside of London.

After some drunken fumbling and seduction at the party, leading to some very uncomfortable looking sex against a gnarled old tree, the two drive back to London via some rather ominous, poorly paved country roads. Through a set of preposterous circumstances to idiotic to repeat, they find themselves stranded off the side of the road, set upon by three local sociopaths in a jeep, who (the sociopaths, not the jeep) proceed to beat Adam senseless with a tire iron and viciously rape Alice, before driving off drunkenly chortling into the night.

Awakening bloodied and bruised and blinded (well, just Adam, and just in one eye), the two return to London to heal and to wonder why the police cannot do anything for them. Alice broods, Adam loses himself in a haze of pot and alcohol -- their lives have stagnated, set adrift in a posttraumatic purgatory. Until, one day, quite by most lucky (or unlucky, as it were) happenstance, Alice recognizes one of the men who had assaulted her (though he, quite fortunately, doesn’t recognize her). Enraged and energized, she kicks plans for vengeance into high gear, tracking the man back to his home, and laying rather simplistic the groundwork for (in her mind) elaborate revenge. Adam reluctantly (at first) accompanies her, helping her with rifle training, and even agreeing to bug the man’s house with cameras in the hopes of finding out more about the other attackers.

It all comes to a head very quickly, with ludicrous revelations of what really led to that fateful night in the woods piling up so preposterously that it’s a wonder Anderson simply didn’t storm off the set after reading the script. The three assaulters are so cartoonish in their villainy that I almost could not believe they weren’t wearing black capes, stove pipe hats, and twirling their waxed mustaches. And Alice’s ultimate vengeance is so mind blowlingly hilariously over the top ridiculous, all I could do was laugh, more at its banal puerility than its graphic crudeness.

Closure would like to imagine it is probing into dark corners of the human psyche, exposing hidden truths about the nature of violence, of evil and of the morality of vengeance. It would like to imagine that its lean economy and brutal bursts of (nongraphic) violence are edgy and harsh and are some sort of commentary on how pornographic, rather than cathartic, film violence has become. It would like to imagine that it is a decent movie, maybe even a great movie, something visceral and profound, along the lines of A History of Violence, or Funny Games, or Straw Dogs.

But what Closure really is, is a totally hollow, ill-conceived and ill-executed abortion of a film, a facile and empty vessel for the cheap machinations of writer/ director Dan Reed, who mistakes juvenile, sensationalism for profundity, never once taking the time or effort to probe the implications of his primal brutalism. It’s all just so inexcusably morally sloppy.

In fact, everything from the top down – the direction, the script, the acting, the editing, the cinematography – is so poorly done, so obviously unfinished and un-thought out, that it’s a wonder this thing was ever greenlit, let alone released, albeit straight to DVD. Clocking in at a brief (but not brief enough) 80-minutes, its running time is basically the only thing Closure has going for it. But seriously, even if you are a die hard Gillian Anderson fan, you can find better ways to occupy 80 minutes of your time than watching this.

2
Music


Books


Film


Recent
Love in the Time of Coronavirus

Street Art As Sprayed Solidarity: Global Corona Graffiti

COVID-19-related street art functions as a vehicle for political critique and social engagement. It offers a form of global solidarity in a time of crisis.

Music

Gretchen Peters Honors Mickey Newbury With "The Sailor" and New Album (premiere + interview)

Gretchen Peters' latest album, The Night You Wrote That Song: The Songs of Mickey Newbury, celebrates one of American songwriting's most underappreciated artists. Hear Peters' new single "The Sailor" as she talks about her latest project.

Music

Okkyung Lee Goes From Classical to Noise on the Stellar 'Yeo-Neun'

Cellist Okkyung Lee walks a fine line between classical and noise on the splendid, minimalist excursion Yeo-Neun.

Film

Alastair Sim: A Very English Character Actor Genius

Alastair Sim belongs to those character actors sometimes accused of "hamming it up" because they work at such a high level of internal and external technique that they can't help standing out.

Music

Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith's New LP Is Lacking in Songcraft but Rich in Texture

Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith's The Mosaic of Transformation is a slightly uneven listen. It generally transcends the tropes of its genre, but occasionally substitutes substance for style.

Music

Buzzcocks' 1996 Album 'All Set' Sees the Veteran Band Stretching Out and Gaining Confidence

After the straightforward and workmanlike Trade Test Transmissions, Buzzcocks continued to hone their fresh identity in the studio, as exhibited on the All Set reissue contained on the new box-set Sell You Everything.

Books

Patrick Madden's 'Disparates' Makes Sense in These Crazy Times

There's no social distancing with Patrick Madden's hilarious Disparates. While reading these essays, you'll feel like he's in the room with you.

Music

Perfume Genius Purges Himself and It's Contagious

You need to care so much about your art to pack this much meaning into not only the words, but the tones that adorn and deliver them. Perfume Genius cares so much it hurts on Set My Heart on Fire Immediately.

Love in the Time of Coronavirus

Confinement and Escape: Emma Donoghue and E.L. Doctorow in Our Time of Self-Isolation

Emma Donoghue's Room and E.L. Doctorow's Homer & Langley define and confront life within limited space.

Books

Political Cartoonist Art Young Was an Aficionado of all Things Infernal

Fantagraphics' new edition of Inferno takes Art Young's original Depression-era critique to the Trump White House -- and then drags it all to Hell.

Music

Folk's Jason Wilber Examines the World Through a Futurist Lens in 'Time Traveler' (album stream)

John Prine's former guitarist and musical director, Jason Wilber steps out with a new album, Time Traveler, featuring irreverent, pensive, and worldly folk music.

Reviews
Collapse Expand Reviews

Features
Collapse Expand Features
PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.