MOVIE REVIEWS

Closer

7/10 R 01 hr 44 min

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**Menage a Quatre**

You may like _Closer_ because of its flawed characters and their doomed relationships. I like it because it's square. The assorted combinations of love and friendship, scorn and resentment, among two males and two females are literally geometrical. Typically, the dependable love triangle pits three characters together, often a heterosexual convention establishing a male lead zig-zagging between two females, or a female lead choosing between two male suitors. What if we include an extra character? How many triangles can be made with four individuals? Four! And _Closer_ expertly covers them all. Next time you see it, draw out a square with each character occupying a corner. Then connect each of the couplings and triangles as they occur, beginning with Julia-Jude-Natalie. Jude falls for Natalie, introduces her to Julia who gets intimate with her camera. The Jude-Clive-Julia triangle is a clever one. Clive is introduced when Jude seduces him online pretending to be Julia who he meets at the aquarium. Often when a movie script or stage play adheres to a strict formula, it turns out flat and predictable. Not _Closer_. Applying a quadrangular network forces each character to cover all the bases, tagging up every way possible, pushing each juncture to the limit.

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