Killing Me Softly


Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

Joseph Fiennes, in rapper baggies, with a two-day growth on his chin and a mean look in his eye, gives the impression of a man who lives in a vodka ad. Actually, the whole movie's a bit like that.

Alice (Heather Graham) is an American in London, who has a trendy job and a perfectly normal boyfriend. Fiennes is a mountain climber, called Adam Tallis, who smokes a lot and prefers kinky sex. He has a sister (Natascha McElhone), who is gushy, insincere and much better looking.

Alice bumps into Adam at a zebra crossing. Their eyes meet. Noone says anything. Hours later they are rolling around the floor, having mad passionate.

"What's your name?"



He's a man of few words and she's stupid.

This is the first movie, based on a psychological thriller by fashionable husband-and-wife writing team, Sean French and Nicki Gerrad. It is directed by the award-winning Chinese filmmaker, Chen Kaige (Farewell My Concubine), with his debut English language picture. The result is a poseur's wet dream.

Adam is obviously deranged. He won't talk about his ex-girlfriends, who died or disappeared. He doesn't discuss his profession. He has a padlocked room in his house, stuffed with chilling memorabilia. He watches Alice like a hawk, as the soundtrack delivers he's-behind-you music at full volume.

Killing Me Softly resembles a soft porn Brian De Palma pastiche. Fiennes is allowed to behave with the arrogance of a B-list movie actor shooting a Playboy centrefold. Graham disappoints. She lacks the personality to make Alice anything but victim feed.

The plot dives into melodrama with the single-mindedness of a kamikaze pilot. The denouement is absurd, the tension manufactured and the passion thermostatically controlled.

Reviewed on: 19 Jun 2002
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Killing Me Softly packshot
Heather Graham falls for Joseph Fiennes, who likes kinky sex and might have killed someone.
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Director: Chen Kaige

Writer: Kara Lindstrom, based on the novel by Nicki French

Starring: Heather Graham, Joseph Fiennes, Natascha McElhone, Helen Grace, Ian Hart, Jasoln Hughes, Kika Markham

Year: 2002

Runtime: 100 minutes

BBFC: 18 - Age Restricted

Country: US


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