Eye For Film >> Movies >> Killing Me Softly (2002) Film Review
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