Closer tells the story of four strangers whose paths cross in London and whose love lives grow entangled in all sorts of complicated ways. Jude Law stars as lowly obit writer and failed novelist Dan, a selfish prick with little concern for anyone else's feelings. The movie opens with his chance encounter with Alice (Natalie Portman), a self-described waif and sometimes stripper whose emotional neediness feeds into Dan's ego. They get together and seem stable for a time, until Dan meets Anna (Roberts), a portrait photographer with a guilt complex. Dan is immediately drawn to her, mostly because he wants anything he can't have, but Anna soon links up with Larry (Clive Owen), a smug doctor whose obnoxiousness has a brutal honesty about it. These four characters eventually criss-cross relationships (Dan with Anna and Larry with Alice) and then back again, at no time any of them ever truly finding happiness.
The film is about self-absorbed people desperate for intimacy but never satisfied when they get it. They all make each other miserable, their unhappiness almost a drug that drives them to continually screw up anything good in their lives. Anna's guilt acts like a fetish, motivating her to ruin relationships so that she can wallow in it a little longer. Larry gloats about his infidelity as a way to ensure that his marriage ends on his own terms. Dan lives strictly in the moment, needing instantaneous pleasure and not caring about the consequences of his actions. And Alice uses her fragility as a trap, ensnaring men into wanting to protect her.
Adapted by screenwriter Patrick Marber from his own stage play, the piece still has a bit of staginess about it, with only four speaking roles and a limited number of locations. Nichols attempts to open it up a little bit by bringing a few scenes outdoors and adding some cinematic time shifts. Like the best of his films, Closer is an incisive character study with nuanced performances, sharp dialogue, and insightful dramatic turns. Just don't expect it to be the most uplifting movie you'll ever see.
The Blu-ray Disc:
Blu-ray discs are only playable in a compatible Blu-ray player. They will not function in a standard DVD player or in an HD DVD player. Please note that the star rating scales for video and audio are relative to other High Definition disc content, not to traditional DVD.
All things considered, this is a fairly solid transfer. The movie's photography is a bit on the soft side, but visible detail in things like skin pores or facial hair is well captured. Close-up shots are especially striking. The general color balance is somewhat drab, especially in flesh tones, however this seems to be intentional. Specific colors such as Natalie Portman's red hair or the gelled lighting inside the strip club pop off the screen more vibrantly. The picture has rich black levels and fine contrasts, making for a pleasing sense of depth. Light film grain is present throughout, but is rendered well and isn't noisy. The most problematic issue with the transfer is some recurrent edge ringing which is mildly distracting in many parts of the movie, unfortunately.
The Closer Blu-ray disc is not flagged with an Image Constraint Token and will play in full High Definition quality over a Blu-ray player's analog Component Video outputs.
Subs & Dubs: