Saturday, January 5, 2008

Enduring Love (2004)

Joe (Daniel Craig): You’re mad.
Jed (Rhys Ifans): That’s what they said about Jesus once.
Joe: They also said it about a lot of mad people.

Frank (Justin Salinger): I’ve seen Natasha stop traffic – actually stop traffic just by walking across the road. She doesn’t even know she’s doing it. Bikes ride into the back of buses. Buses miss their stops. Dog walkers plow unsuspecting dogs under cars. They can’t help themselves. They can’t stop staring at her.
Claire (Samantha Morton):Why? What’s wrong with her?

A wayward hot-air balloon, carrying a solo teenage boy, is briefly tethered by a group of passers-by, including Joe (Daniel Craig). But a gust of wind forces the balloon skyward, and all the would-be rescuers release their hold, except for one doctor, who continues to rise, dangling from a rope, and then falls to his death. Joe is haunted by the failed rescue and what could have been, and is stalked by Jed (Rhys Ifans), one of the other men involved in the attempt. Joe initially feels sorry for Jed, and probably has some interest also in bonding with someone else who took part in the tragedy. But as time goes on, Joe realizes that Jed is quite obsessed, mad – and in love. By that time, Joe also is spiralling down. Unusual and well-written film discusses the meaning of life and love, then makes you squirm as the situations get more serious and you feel as if you are being stalked. Joe gets everything he deserves (and the film requires some suspension of disbelief) as he consistently handles the situation incorrectly, Craig, Ifans, and Morton are all superb. Jeremy Sams unobtrusive soundtrack provides a perfect accent. It was a revelation to see Craig show his acting chops in this emotion-baring role, since my only other previous (and recent) exposure to him was as the steely James Bond in Casino Royale (2006). Rating: 3 of 4 reviewed 21 Nov 2007

"Wholly absorbing... subtly trapping us in the perspective of a beleaguered protagonist, who himself is trapped in an inchoate state of grief and fantasy."
- Nick Davis (Nick's Flick Picks)

 "Enduring Love contains impeccable performances, especially by the frightening Ifans."
- Lou Lumenick (New York Post)

"The premise may sound ordinary on the surface, but it's far from a mundane thriller on the screen with its obsessions and paranoia and a very creepy stalker."
- Cherryl Dawson and Leigh Ann Palone (

"This slender, increasingly monotonous stalker plot feels ludicrously overintellectualized -- full of hot air. To paraphrase Freud, sometimes a balloon is just a balloon."
- David Edelstein (Slate)

"It's not entirely satisfying, but it's too intriguing to dismiss."
- Robert Denerstein (Denver Rocky Mountain News)

"One of those outrageous stalker thrillers in which so much trouble could have been avoided if the characters had only thought to call the police."
- Peter Debruge (Premiere Magazine)

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