THE END OF THE AFFAIR. (1999) REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©


THE END OF THE AFFAIR. (1999) BASED ON THE BOOK BY GRAHAM GREENE.
WRITTEN, DIRECTED AND CO-PRODUCED BY NEIL JORDAN.
STARRING JULIANNE MOORE, RALPH FIENNES, STEPHEN REA, JASON ISAACS, JAMES BOLAM AND IAN HART.
REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

‘Love doesn’t end, just because we don’t see each other.’

I love this film, characterised by gorgeous scenes of endless heavy rainfall in post-war Britain and a rather spiffing shot of Ralph Fiennes bare backside captured splendidly in mid-coitus. Phwoar. The more I see of this guy, the more I fancy him.  

I saw the film on the big screen back in 1999 when it was first released. I’ve had fond memories of it ever since, though it certainly wouldn’t appeal to lovers of action movies as it’s quite slow. That suits me though, being quite a slow-moving person myself, lol.

There’s a bit too much religion in it; that’s possibly the only aspect of the film I didn’t enjoy, but otherwise, it’s as damn near perfect as anything else you’ll see. It’ll appeal to fans of history and thwarted love affairs, heavy rainfall in cinema and Ralph Fiennes’s lovely bare arse doing the old in-out, in-out. What’s not to love?

Ralph- that’s ‘Rafe’ to you!- plays Maurice Bendrix, a moderately successful English novelist in wartime and post-wartime Britain. Well, he’s had one of his books made into a film, so, if that’s moderate success, I’ll have some, please. Beats obscurity and starving in the proverbial garret any day!

Anyway, one rainy night after the war, Maurice bumps into Henry Miles (Stephen Rea), a politician with whose wife, the beautiful Sarah, Maurice had a raging affair during the war.

Seeing the cuckolded Henry again encourages Maurice to re-kindle his acquaintance- and romance- with Sarah, subtly played by Julianne Moore. It’s not difficult to fool poor Henry, Gawd bless his naive, too-trusting buttons.

If ever a man was downbeat, downtrodden and expecting to be made a fool of, it’s poor old Henry. Maurice and Sarah are taking the actual piss by the way in which they practically have sex under Henry’s nose and get away with it. Even in Henry’s own house, on Henry’s own couch, of all places…!

Henry needs to grow a pair, seriously, but I think Henry thinks he’s punching above his weight in marrying Sarah, and is therefore grateful that she consents to stay married to him while still having her little affairs.

Anyway, Maurice has always wondered why Sarah broke off her affair with him during the war years, when London was having the bejeesus bombed out of her by nasty Uncle Adolf and Company; now, in 1946, having inveigled his way back into Sarah and Henry’s lives again quite by chance, he might just finally get to find out.

Three members of the eventual cast of the Harry Potter films are to be found here; Ralph Fiennes as Maurice/Lord Voldemort; Jason Isaacs as the rather surplus to requirements priest/Lucius Malfoy and Ian Hart as the private eye Parkis/Professor Quirrell from HARRY POTTER AND THE PHILOSOPHER’S STONE.

I disliked intensely the attempt to make Julianne Moore’s character Sarah into some kind of a saint at the end. As the friend with whom I recently re-watched the film pronounced uncompromisingly, she wasn’t a saint, she was a shameless and adulterous slag. I don’t mean to slut-shame, by the way, lol. I’m just telling it like it is.

I love this film, a rain-spattered, doomed wartime romance- positively the best kind of doomed romance there is!- and I have particularly fond memories of watching it in the cinema, so it’ll always get a thumbs-up from me. Women will probably relish all the soul-searching and nudie Ralph Fiennes; insensitive males will more than likely just switch over and watch the footy. Their loss, folks…       

AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY OF SANDRA HARRIS.

Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based novelist, poet, short story writer and film and book blogger. She has studied Creative Writing and Vampirology. She has published a number of e-books on the following topics: horror film reviews, multi-genre film reviews, women’s fiction, erotic fiction, erotic horror fiction and erotic poetry. Several new books are currently in the pipeline. You can browse or buy any of Sandra’s books by following the link below straight to her Amazon Author Page:

http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B015GDE5RO

Her debut romantic fiction novel, ‘THIRTEEN STOPS,’ is out now from Poolbeg Books:

The sequel, ‘THIRTEEN STOPS LATER,’ is out now from Poolbeg Books: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1781994234

PSYCHO. (1998) THE RE-MAKE REVIEWED BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

PSYCHO: THE RE-MAKE. (1998) BASED ON THE BOOK BY ROBERT BLOCH AND THE 1960 FILM BY ALFRED HITCHCOCK.

DIRECTED BY GUS VAN SANT. SCREENPLAY BY JOSEPH STEFANO. MUSIC BY BERNARD HERRMANN, DANNY ELFMAN AND STEVE BARTEK.

STARRING ANNE HECHE, VINCE VAUGHN, VIGGO MORTENSEN, JULIANNE MOORE, RITA WILSON AND WILLIAM H. MACY.

REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

I wasn’t expecting to like this more or less scene-for-scene re-make of Alfred Hitchcock’s magnificent, disturbing and ground-breaking horror picture of 1960, but as it turned out, I really enjoyed it. While still acknowledging, naturally, that it isn’t and never could be as good as the original masterpiece which inspired it. Now that we’ve got that little disclaimer out of the way, lol, we can get down to appreciating PSYCHO: THE RE-MAKE for what it is; a film in its own right.

Anne Heche, an actress who co-starred in genuinely the worst film I’ve ever seen in my life, CATFIGHT with Sandra Oh in 2016, is actually pretty good as Marion Crane, the woman who steals $400,000 dollars from her boss with the intention of starting a new life with her currently impoverished hardware store owner boyfriend, Sam Loomis.

She plays Marion as a sweeter, softer person than the Marion played by Janet Leigh in 1960. That Janet was a bit cold, a bit self-righteous, a bit judgemental. Marion in the re-make is just softer all round, a bit less sure of herself, maybe even (Heresy! Heresy!) a bit more likeable.

Vince Vaughn, the beefcake actor whom you’re probably more used to seeing in throwaway comedies such as OLD SCHOOL, DODGEBALL: A TRUE UNDERDOG STORY, WEDDING CRASHERS and FRED CLAUS, is surprisingly good as Norman Bates, the sexually deviant and mentally deranged motel owner who takes a murderous shine to Marion Crane as she flees from her old life.

He’s got the sweetie-guzzling thing going on, he defends his abusive mother to the hilt and won’t hear of having her put away ‘someplace,’ and he’s no match for the clever questioning of William H. Macy as the private dick with the greatest name ever dreamed up by a writer, Milton Arbogast.

The character of Milton Arbogast here is just perfect, although he reminds me of no-one so much as Lyle Lanley, the character from THE SIMPSONS who brings the ill-fated Monorail to Springfield.

‘I’ll show you my idea. I give you the Springfield Monorail! I’ve sold monorails to Brockway, Ogdenville, and North Haverbrook, and, by gum, it put them on the map! Well, sir, there’s nothin’ on Earth like a genuine bona-fide electrified six-car monorail!’ He’s even got the hat-flipping down to a T, and his death (come on, it’s a sixty year old film, if you haven’t seen it by now, it’s not my fault, lol!) is very well done, and reverently reminiscent of the way Hitchcock did it in 1960.

I love that the film, even though it’s set in 1998, still manages to keep the worst excesses of the modern world and modern technology at bay for the viewer. No-one’s yakking away on a cellphone, for one thing, for which I was immensely grateful. The colours are the lovely pink and blue pastels of a softer, gentler era and the clothes everyone’s wearing all have such a retro ‘Sixties vibe that we could actually be in that era and not modern times.

The only harsh, jarring note here is, sadly, Julianne Moore as Lila Crane, Marion’s sister who comes to Fairvale to look for her after she hops it with the money. I say ‘sadly’ because I do really like Julianne Moore as an actress. However, here she plays Lila all wrong.

She plays her too tough, too militant, too shouty, too raving feminist. She plays her like she plays FBI Agent Clarice Starling in HANNIBAL in 2001, like she’s a cop on a drugs raid and she’s taking no bullshit from her suspects.

She strides into a place as if she should be pointing a gun into it ahead of herself, and even her clothes are wrong. They’re too bloody moderns, as Mr. Khan says in EAST IS EAST (1999).

Lila Crane is not a ball-breaking FBI agent. She’s a woman who would look and dress and speak similarly to her missing sister. Julianne Moore’s Lila Crane looks like she should be wearing combats, rolling across a floor pointing a gun and screaming ‘Freeze, motherfuckers!’ at a den of Colombian druglords. It’s the one false note in a film that otherwise succeeds quite well in creating a world that blurs the lines between the ‘Sixties of Hitchcock’s film and modern times.

I loved the highway-cop-with-the-sunglasses bit. He’s almost identical to the cop from the original film. Mumbly Viggo Mortensen as Marion’s lover, Sam Loomis, doesn’t contribute much besides a gratuitous butt-shot, and Old Mother Bates was never a blonde bombshell, but other than that and the Julianne Moore thing, and the fact that the famous shower scene was possibly less impactful, I’ve no complaints about the film, lol. It received mostly negative reviews, but I enjoyed watching it, so there. Give it a whirl if you haven’t already seen it. You might enjoy it.

AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY OF SANDRA HARRIS.

Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based novelist, poet, short story writer and film and book blogger. She has studied Creative Writing and Film-Making. She has published a number of e-books on the following topics: horror film reviews, multi-genre film reviews, women’s fiction, erotic fiction, erotic horror fiction and erotic poetry. Several new books are currently in the pipeline. You can browse or buy any of Sandra’s books by following the link below straight to her Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B015GDE5RO

Her debut romantic fiction novel, ‘THIRTEEN STOPS,’ is out now from Poolbeg Books.