ROGER MICHELL’S ENDURING LOVE — A REVIEW BY NICK CLEMENT

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Despite trading off of some of the more durable genre conventions of the stalker-thriller, eclective and underappreciated filmmaker Roger Michel’s gripping and exquisitely mounted film Enduring Love more than stakes it claim as one of the most provocative and stylish genre entires in recent years. Released in 2004 and starring a pre-007 Daniel Craig as a man who becomes inexorably linked to a mentally fractured and obsessive individual (Rhys Ifans in a chilling, unhinged performance of quiet determination), the nightmarish narrative centers on a tragic hot air balloon accident and the lives of the people who are impacted by the calamitous event. This incredibly scary sequence, as shot by the extremely skilled cinematographer Haris Zambarloukos (Locke, Venus), is thrillingly staged, as the piercing quality of the visuals leaves nothing to the imagination. After the life changing accident, Joe Penhall’s terse screenplay jumps back and forth between studying Craig’s emotionally strained relationship with his girlfriend (the always excellent Samantha Morton) and the sense of uneasiness that begins to grow as he realizes that Ifans is a man on a mission. And because Ifans is so eager to assert himself into Craig’s orbit, the film is able to hone in on the uncomfortable and inevitable fact that nothing good can come out of this perilous situation, as the story builds to an expected moment of shocking violence that doesn’t necessarily play out as fully expected. Adapted from Ian McEwan’s novel, this is one of the more icy and nasty psychological thrillers that I can think of in recent years.

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