October 6, 2005
Starring: Daniel Craig, Samantha Morton, Rhys Ifans, Alexandra Aitken, Susan Lynch, Bill Nighy, Lee Sheward, Bill Weston, Anna Maxwell Martin, Helen McCrory, Jeremy McCurdie, Rosie Michell, Corin Redgrave, ,
There is something missing from British cinema, and Enduring Love is the best attempt at a clever, thought-provoking psychological thriller/drama that is ever gonna try and rival its American counterparts. This adaptation of an Ian McEwan best-selling novel shows us a darker side of London life without featuring gangsters or a seedy underworld. This is a story about life, about love and the incomprehensible dimness of unexpected events.
Taken straight from the novel, the pressure is on to deliver the ultimate opening sequence ever, and Enduring Love delivers. On a brilliantly picturesque day of bright blue skies and luscious green fields, Joe and Claire’s picnic is interrupted by a hot air balloon accident. As Joe (Daniel Craig) and a group of other men attempt to wrestle the balloon under control, it leads to the grim and accidental death of one of the would-be saviors and plunges Joe into a mental anguish of despair and confusion. The tragedy also is the catalyst for fellow rescuer Jed to enter stalker mode and not let Joe forget that “he let go first.”
After the initial breathtaking first scene, the film dives into a contrasting film-noir feel as we are asked to deal with the film’s comments, such as, a voyeuristic obsession, the science of love, the control God has over life and nature. After the incident Joe believes to have had a revelation, and that he has worked out the meaning of life and love – that they have no meaning. As you can imagine his girlfriend isn’t too happy about that. Rhys Ifans superbly plays religious enthusiast/crazy god-squad guy, Jed, who believes that a something special passed between himself and Joe on the day of the accident.
The voyeurism theme is continued throughout the camerawork as Enduring Love is mainly presented in hand-held style and Notting Hill director, Roger Michell, leaves the camera lurking behind the location’s natural surroundings fixing the characters in the mid-ground and never really getting near the actors but allowing the audience to view their life from afar. Adding to the creepy nature of the camera is the equally unsettling score, which consist of monotonous piano key striking or the shrieking of violin strings.
The unsteady composition is also evident in the script. The dialogue is very elitist, the pacing is very slow and the film stretches about 20 minutes too long. There is the danger that the audience will become fatigued and will leave their viewing in a negative frame of mind that overrules the excellently performed psychological piece that Enduring Love is. It does not however, from a sheer entertainment point of view, rival other creepy stalker greats like Cape Fear, Fatal Attraction or One Hour Photo but instead creates its own tangent to sit on.
The menus are static and basic but not awful and also feature that unnerving score from the film. The most impressive extra is a 7 minute short film called “Burst.” The reason this appears on the DVD is because the crew of Enduring Love found that they had a free day during the shoot and ran a competition to write a script to be shot in a day. The 3rd AD won, took two cameras and a full crew for the day and made “Burst.”
The deleted scenes are, as deleted scenes should be, pointless and really don’t belong in the movie. There are 2 short features, neither of them run over 8 minutes, that interviews the actors, director, producer and novelist about their thoughts and experiences of the story of Enduring Love. Also, an interesting but far too short look at the making of the balloon scene. The trailers and TV spots are in there and are well created but the commentary pretty much just goes back over what was said in the features and at times can be engaging but is spoilt by the unvarying delivery.