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Enduring Love

(Roger Michell, UK, 2004)


 


The stories, novels and scripts of Ian McEwan (The Comfort of Strangers [1991], The Good Son  [1993]) often come out rather oddly on screen – as unwieldy amalgams of art-film conventions and sensational mystery-thriller elements. Since he has his name on Enduring Love as Associate Producer, one must infer he approves of the singular mess that has, in this case, resulted.

 

There are at least three movies fighting for attention inside Enduring Love. The first, in the vein of Peter Weir’s Fearless  (1993) or David Cronenberg’s Crash  (1996), addresses the weirdly altered destinies of those who together survive a catastrophic trauma – in this case, the surreal air-balloon accident that intertwines egghead Joe (Daniel Craig) with the desperately needy Jed (Rhys Ifans).

 

The second movie is an Alain Botton-style, dumbed-down dissertation of the meaning (or meaninglessness) of life. Joe is the author of a book on “the art of empathy and understanding” – astonishingly so, since these qualities are exactly what he most lacks.

 

The third movie is an intimacy thriller with Jed as the Beast from the Lower Classes who becomes an obsessed stalker, disturbing Joe’s already rocky union with a luckless artist, Claire (Samantha Morton).

 

These three strands effectively cancel each other out long before Roger Michell’s overly fussy film limps to its predictable conclusion.

MORE Michell: Notting Hill

© Adrian Martin March 2005


Film Critic: Adrian Martin
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