ARROW IN THE HEAD REVIEWS

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Fatal Attraction (1987)
Written by: The Arrow
Director: Adrian Lyne

Starring:
Michael Douglas/Dan
Glenn Close/Alex
Anne Archer/Beth
Ellen Hamilton Latzen/Ellen
10 10
PLOT-CRUNCH
When his wife and daughter are out of town, successful lawyer Dan (Douglas) has a consensual sexual jamboree with shaggy blonde haired editor Alex (Close). But when the time comes for both of them to part ways, Alex goes "Jason Voorhees" on his ass and begins to terrorize him and his unsuspecting family. Poor Dan, all he wanted was a quickie…
THE LOWDOWN
What happens when you lock 4 “feministic” females and 3 “assertive” males in a room and then slap "Fatal Attraction" into the DVD player? MUCHO TROUBLE...that’s what happens. I lost a potential one-night “me love you long time” because of this flick (I know, I’m such a romantic). Once the credits rolled, a meaty conversation between both sexes was sparked and disagreements were plenty. Since both parties couldn’t agree, things got heated and insults started to fly. Now is that the sign of a solid movie or what? Here are the themes that were brought up and my oh-so male perspective on them.

Who should we root for? Alex or Dan? No contest there, I was rooting for Dan. Michael “the man” Douglas has this "every day" dude quality to him and that allowed me to easily slip into his character’s shoes for 2 hours. I was right there with him, felt his pain and frustration in regards to that crazy gal’s actions. Why would I root for Alex? Sure, I pitied her a bit early on, but I grew to despise her very fast despite the layers Glenn Close brought to the character. DAN! DAN! DAN! DAN! DAN! All the way baby...

Is Alex sympathetic? In my opinion, you bring your own life experiences/baggage to every movie that you sit through. Now even though adultery had nothing to do with it, I’ve met and dated women like Alex: weak, pathetic, obsessive and ultimately psychotic. So I had a lot of personal stuff brewing in my noggin while watching this slick flick. Yes, I loathed Alex with a passion. Now don’t get me wrong, Glenn Close gives an amazing performance, making the role a multi-dimensional, damaged human being versus a one-dimensional psychopath…but that made her even scarier and I despised her with all the negative energy that I could muster. I can’t count the times I yelled out loud: "Fuck her up, Mike! Get even Mike!" Yeah, those brash exclamations really got me in good graces with my hardened female acquaintances. No wonder I slept alone that night!

Dan doesn’t get what he deserves in the end: "What the fuck? Are you out of your fucking mind!" That’s what came out of my mouth when one of the girls present said that to me. The man cheated on his wife, yes...that’s wrong but let's not go overboard here! He’s still a loving husband and a good father. Now in regards to Alex, Dan came out clean from the get-go and she knew where he stood (he was married, loved his family…what not). This was supposed to be a one weekend deal and both parties agreed! Now I know a couple of dudes who cheat on their girls and they would’ve lied through their teeth, pretending that they were single just to bag the chick. Cheating is wrong but at least Dan went about it in an honest way in regards to Alex. You have to respect that.

As for Dan "paying" for the actual cheating, ARE YOU KIDDING ME? I think the ordeal that he goes through at the hands of the "she-bitch from hell" Alex is way more than enough punishment for his selfish and scrotum-driven act. He put his family in jeopardy, he went through severe mental torture and he hurt his wife, whom he obviously loves very much. Call me naïve or an a-hole, but I’m sure he learned from the experience and I highly doubt that he’ll slap his pecker where it doesn’t belong ever again.

The ending: Girl: "This is so Hollywood!" Arrow: "Will you clam up already! I’m trying to watch a movie!" Now lots of people complain about the ending, they say it's too “slasher”-like and abandons the psychological build-up that the film was working on for an hour and a half. They’re right but I still love the “wham-bam” ending. By the hour mark, I wanted Alex to get it so bad! Much like Dan, I’d had ENOUGH of her psychotic, troublemaking ways. Granted, the ending is one of the less original moments of the picture, but on the other hand, it satisfied the shite out of me on a gut level! Rub-a-dub-dub in the bathtub beeyatch! YEAH!!!

My only pet peeve with the flick **SPOILERS** is that Dan never really addresses his baby on an emotional level. Lots of nuance could have been brought to the situation due to that factor. Here, Dan is totally neutral. On the flip side, tackling that aspect would have taken mucho screen time and would likely have hurt the pace of the film, so it's all good. **END SPOILERS**

Overall, "Fatal Attraction" is not only a tight and very intense thriller (all about that violent confrontation between Dan and Alex where not a word is spoken…wow) but also a ballsy reflection on what’s going on in our contemporary society. Having the script be so well written, the pace effortless and the characters so real, only helped up my involvement in the picture. I was on the edge of my “Chips 'n Dip” on more than one occasion and I relished every second of it. Psycho chicks are scary yo!
GORE
Not much of that but the violence does get ugly. We get slit wrists, bloody knife slashing, a bullet hit and one very boiled rabbit.
ACTING
Michael Douglas (Dan) is amazing as the good but cheating husband. Not only is the man very intense and extremely focused, but he also managed to gain 100 percent of my sympathy even though he played on his wife. I love the guy! Glenn Close (Alex) is the second big gun is this flick. Wow! What a show, she fully coveys the many layers of a deranged person. Not black and white but grey. She also scared the crap out of me, can you say INSANE! Anne Archer (Beth) is gorgeous here and plays off Douglas like a champ. Their chemistry is so natural. Ellen Hamilton Latzen (Ellen) does look like a boy, but she gives one of the more effortless child performances I have ever seen (she’s 6 years old here). Great cast!
T & A
None of the nudity here is exploitive, it serves the story. Even though we see Michael Douglas’ ass (yes, again) and Glenn Close’s butt and tits, it's really Ann Archer in her tight top and underwear that did it for me...the gal looks fine! NOTE: How many times in your lifetime are you going to see folks fornicating on a kitchen sink? GO DOUGLAS GO!
DIRECTING
Lyne is very restraint here compared to his previous efforts. No smoke machine or lighting abuse in this one. He keeps it to a minimal while at the same time giving us stylish shot compositions, great scene back-and-forths, genuine suspense and an attention to detail (I loved how Alex dresses in white for half the film but then dresses in black when she loses it.) Perfect.
SOUNDTRACK
Much like the directing, Maurice Jarre’s score is subtle and supports the scenes which it backs without ever drowning them out. Once more, solid.
DVD FEATURES
IMAGE: I found the Widescreen enhanced for 16:9 TVs image a tad blurry. It almost looked like a used up videotape. Disappointing transfer.

SOUND: On the other hand, the English 5.1 Surround sound came through gangbusters, especially when it came to the subtle score. We also get a English Dolby Surround and a French Stereo Surround option.

EXTRAS: There’s enough meat here to fill us up. Check it out!

Forever Fatal (30 minutes): This capsule has the producers of the film explaining how every studio on the block rejected the project and how it eventually came to be. Michael Douglas, Anne Archer, Adrian Lyne and Glenn Close also come in to talk about the script, the hardest scenes to film for them and to praise each others talent. Very interesting capsule.

Social Attraction (10 minutes): Here, cast and crew discuss the social phenomenon that came with the success of the film and the feminist movement backlash on the picture. Glenn Close also goes in-depth in regards to her character. Is it me or are feminist groups always pissed off about something in a film? I’m in trouble now…he he he…

Visual Attraction (20 minutes): The costume designer, the makeup artist, the cinematographer and more come in to blab about the look of the film. This capsule didn’t do much for me but I’m sure some will appreciate it.

Rehearsal Footage (7 minutes): Here we get to see 2 scenes with Michael Douglas and Glenn Close going head to head and one scene with Anne Archer reading for the part. They call it "rehearsal footage" but it looks more like auditions or screen tests to me. Either way, still very kool to watch.

Alternate Ending (9 minutes): Here we get the film’s original ending where Alex commits suicide and Dan gets arrested for murder, in consequence. Very kool to see what the first ending was and I’m very happy that they changed it. It's anti-climatic and I for one wanted Dan to survive this event and Alex to pay BIG TIME. I guess test screenings aren’t always bad.

We also get an in-depth full-length Commentary by director Adrian Lyne and the film’s Trailer. Overall, this is a pretty packed DVD, too bad the image wasn’t better.
BOTTOM LINE
Even though this flick was released in 1987, it's still very relevant today and it hit me like Sean Penn in his photographer punching days. Adultery is a theme to which we can all relate, not that we’ve all done it, but we all know about it and have probably at least all thought about it at one point or another. The human condition is flawed, what can you do. Sometimes we let the wrong part of our bodies lead us. This movie is the ultimate cautionary tale when it comes to on-the-side snacking. It does for cheating what "Jaws" did for the ocean. Watch where you put your “Johnsons” guys, you never know when it’s going to get chewed off!
BULL'S EYE
Barbara Hershey and Debra Winger both refused the role of Alex. Glenn Close, on the other hand, loved the script and pursued the part fervently.
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