The Comfort of Strangers (1990)

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Paul Schrader directs Christopher Walken, Natasha Richardson and Rupert Everett in this Venice-set erotic mystery about a holidaying couple who pick up some bad company. 

A mood piece, with not really enough plot to keep you hooked, but gallons of uncertainty about where it is headed. The question mark that hangs over the whole strange endeavour is so overawing that you want to stick with it to solve its labyrinth. Schrader captures the feeling of getting lost in the sinking city well, it geographically makes a nice bedfellow with Don’t Look Now. He also frames and lights the gorgeous if milky couple arousingly, charting their course from separate hotel beds to passionate fuck to bohemian disaster with a continual unabashed kinky thrill. Thank goodness for his alluring visuals, as Harold Pinter’s adaptation on Ian McEwan’s source novel, often skates with parody, rarely broaching genuine emotion. Jarring repetition. Predictable repitions. Pauses. Then pointless repetitions. And then there is Christopher Walken, as a white suited Venetian (by way of  Queens). At one point, unexpectedly, he punches Rupert Everett right in the gut then leers at him deliciously, throwing him a wink. If that sounds like your kinda acting then The Comfort of Strangers allows him and you and all of us to luxuriate in one of his most baffling screen weirdos. He runs riot, it is a thing of beauty and the movie arcs up a couple of notches with every appearance by him. What’s his end game? That’s a twist worth savouring.

6

My Top 10 Christopher Walken Movies
1. True Romance (1993)
2. Pulp Fiction (1994)
3 Batman Returns (1992)
The Jungle Book (2016)
5 The Deer Hunter (1978)
6 Things to Do in Denver When You’re Dead (1995)

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Man on Fire (2004)
8 At Close Range (1986)
9 The Dead Zone (1983)
10 Sleepy Hollow (1999)

 

 

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