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 The World of Film in Australia - on the Internet Updated Thursday, April 24, 2014 - Edition No 894 

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KILLING ME SOFTLY

SYNOPSIS:
Alice Loudon (Heather Graham) is happily settled in her relationship with her boyfriend Jake (Jason Hughes), until one day she meets a well known and respected mountaineer Adam Tallis (Joseph Fiennes) at the traffic lights. Their hands touch and their eyes meet… a passionate affair ensues. Alice learns about the climbing accident, in which Adam's girlfriend died from his sister Deborah (Natascha McElhone). Alice moves in with Adam but discovers that he wants to own and control her every move. In the meantime, she starts to receive anonymous letters warning her about Adam. She then discovers love letters from a former lover, who has since disappeared and she begins to suspect Adam of murder…


Review by Louise Keller:
The sex scenes are hot and the chemistry between Joseph Fiennes and Heather Graham is scorching. An erotic, psychological thriller, Killing Me Softly is a B film with an A cast. Fiennes and Graham light up the screen, but are dragged down with a script that is wildly ridiculous. Heavy handed direction and dramatic music jar; what could have been a gripping thriller resorts to blatant melodrama. 

Based on a novel by husband and wife journalists Sean French and Nicci Gerrard under the pen name of Nicci French, while the story relies on some incredible elements, the book could well be a riveting page turner. The premise that Alice and Adam's relationship is based on sexual desire and obsession is an interesting one, but becomes blatantly far-fetched. 

Take the scene when Adam dumps Alice on the rustic kitchen table and binds her wrists and ankles with rope. Alice is supposedly terrified, but doesn't even struggle, or try to wriggle out of her restraints. Instead she sheepishly says: 'I have to pee' and subsequently tries to escape through the bathroom window. Adam's line 'I could break your neck, I love you so much' is even worse. Both the script and the structure are badly flawed, but somehow the cast still shines. Fiennes is especially effective as the darkly brooding, very handsome, unpredictable and obsessive husband, and it's credit to him, Graham and Natascha McElhone (as the devoted sister), that so much credibility is brought to their characters. 

Visually, there is much on offer. What a good-looking threesome they are, the three leads, besides there's Graham's spiffy wardrobe by Gemma Jackson and those gorgeous wintry settings. But it was more than titters at the nudity and eroticism to which the preview audience responded. There was laughter – and that is the kiss of death for a thriller, whose intention is to terrify. Killing Me Softly will probably find its market on video, but what a disappointing waste of good talent!



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Fiennes and Graham light up the screen, but are dragged down with a script that is wildly ridiculous

CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 0
Unfavourable: 1
Mixed: 0

TRAILER

HEATHER GRAHAM INTERVIEW

KILLING ME SOFTLY (R18+)
(US)

CAST: Heather Graham, Joseph Fiennes, Natascha McElhone, Ian Hurt

PRODUCER: Joe Medjuck, Lynda Myles, Michael Chinich

DIRECTOR: Chen Kaige

SCRIPT: Kara Lindstrom, Sean French (novel),

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Michael Coulter B.S.C.

EDITOR: Jon Gregory

MUSIC: Patrick Doyle

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Gemma Jackson

RUNNING TIME: 100 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Becker

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: November 28, 2002

VIDEO DISTRIBUTOR: Magna Pacific

VIDEO RELEASE: June 11, 2003 (Also on DVD)







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