Movie Review by Nigel A. Messenger
Starring: Heather Graham, Joseph Fiennes, Natascha McElhone, Ulrich Thomsen, Ian Hart
Director: Chen Kaige
Heather Graham and Ralph Fiennes head the cast in this slightly strange erotic thriller.
Alice (Heather Graham) an American living in London is happily enjoying life with her rather mundane boyfriend with whom she lives when a chance meeting with Adam Tallis (Ralph Fiennes) while on her way to work changes her life forever. This initial contact sparks instant attraction and before you say hot naked sex, they’re going at it like there’s no tomorrow.
Alice leaves her boyfriend, moves in with Adam and then marries him. Meanwhile she is receiving anonymous notes warning her that she doesn’t really know Adam. Also after a rather unusual wedding night their bedroom antics become more and more violent and Alice begins to wonder if dangerous sex could become fatal. When Alice begins to suspect that Adam’s past girlfriend’s death in a climbing accident could have been murder and yet another of Adam’s past girlfriends has gone permanently missing she turns to Adam’s sister Deborah (Natascha McElhone) and the police for help.
KILLING ME SOFTLY, which has nothing whatsoever to do with the Roberta Flack song, is played out for about the first half of the movie almost like a romantic novel with totally improbable situations plus really irritating background music and for this part could almost be considered a ‘chick flick’, except that I know lot of red-blooded guys out there who will be glued to the screen to see the sex scenes because Heather Graham actually does get it all out and I’m pretty sure it’s not a body double! Also Natascha McElhone who plays Deborah Tallis is a real ‘looker’ so there’s plenty of eye-candy to make up for the rather pathetic storyline, although once again I have to reiterate the background music is terrible!
It’s the second act when things become more sinister that it all gets more interesting and even though the ending is totally predictable, I guessed it ages before it happened, how they get there is quite compelling and saves the movie.
If you’re a one movie a month person then there’s a lot of better movies to choose from but if you’re a regular film watcher looking for a rental at the video shop or checking the line-up on the movie channels then this is worth 98 minutes of your time – not forgetting the added ‘exposure’ it gives to Heather Graham.