Plot: What’s it about?
Sarah Miles (Julianne Moore) lover her husband Henry (Stephen Rea), but their relationship has no passion or intimacy. So when she meets Maurice (Ralph Fiennes) and she finds herself attracted to him, she lets herself go, to enjoy the passion she simply doesn’t get from her husband. Sparks fly between the two right away, and Sarah and Maurice begin a passionate and torrid love affair. With Maurice, Sarah was being fulfilled in ways her overworking husband could never fulfill her, but one day, she just vanishes. Without a trace or a word to Maurice, Sarah is gone one day, leaving Maurice in a state of total and utter confusion. Two years later, Maurice still has no clue as to Sarah’s reasons for leaving or current whereabouts, but she has not left his mind and thoughts. One night, Maurice has a chance encounter with Sarah’s husband, Henry, and the two have a conversation about Sarah. This meetings rekindles all the passion and emotion inside Maurice, and he decides to have her followed, to perhaps learn why she had left him two years earlier. Whatever Sarah’s reasons were, will those reasons still hold true if she were to be reunited with Maurice now?
This is a remake of the 1955 classic motion picture of the same name. As with most remakes, especially those which remake classics, this film had an uphill battle from the get go, but I feel it comes out well, perhaps even superior to the original. While I will argue that this modern version is the better of the two, I will say that this movie is excellent, and well worth your time to look up. While the novel written by Graham Greene was used as the core basis for the film, some writing changes were made by director Neil Jordan, which gives this film some subtle differences from the original and the novel itself. I feel these changes are what keeps this version fresh, and at times, superior to the original, but I am sure a case could be made either way. If you do enjoy the original, I think you should view this version, just to see another director’s vision of the story and the small changes made to the storyline. This is one of the better romantic films I have seen in quite a while, so if romance is what you’re after, this is right up your alley. I recommend at least a rental, and Columbia has issued a wonderful disc for those of you looking to add this to your personal collections, so don’t hesitate to purchase the disc.
This film was written for the screen and directed by Stephen Rea, who is known for his lush visuals in films, and also his knack for character work. While not as visually striking as some of his other work, this film has excellent costumes and locations, which help set the mood of the era and circumstances. If you want to see more of Jordan’s work, check out The Crying Game, Interview With The Vampire, In Dreams, and Michael Collins. While there are actually three leads in this film, the movie works around two of them for the most part. Stephen Rea, who seems to appear in ever Neil Jordan movie, has a large role, but seems to be ushered aside in favor of the other two leads. But Rea (Ready To Wear, Princess Caraboo) is a fine actor, and he uses his time on screen to showcase his ability, providing a wonderful supporting performance. The true leading roles in this film belong to Ralph Fiennes and Julianne Moore, two fine actors who turn in terrific performances here. Fiennes (Strange Days, Schindler’s List) has a short resume, but he seems to keep improving, becoming one of the finest young actors in the business. Moore (Boogie Nights, Nine Months), who was nominated for a Best Actress Oscar for this role, steals the show here, giving one of her finest turns yet, and that’s saying something. The supporting cast includes Jason Isaacs (Event Horizon, Armageddon), Ian Hart (B. Monkey, Clockwork Mice), and James Bolam (Murder Most Foul, The Plague Dogs).
Video: How does it look?
The End Of The Affair is presented in a 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer, with a full frame version also included on this dual layered disc. The visuals in this movie are beautiful, so I was concerned about the transfer, but my worries were put to rest once the movie started. The image is very sharp and detailed, with no compression errors or print flaws to be found. The colors look bright and vivid, and flesh tones appear natural and free from distortion. The contrast is well balanced, with very detail level and well defined shadows. The image is so well defined, I almost swear I could see each drop of water in the scenes which feature rain.
Audio: How does it sound?
While this movie isn’t focused on audio, the Dolby Digital 5.1 track does ensure a pleasant audio experience. The score, which you can enjoy on a bonus audio track, is excellent, and sounds lush and full in his mix. The outdoor scenes, especially those with rain involved, will perk up the surrounds a little as well. The rest of the audio is dedicated to the dialogue, which comes across clear and consistent, no remote fiddling needed at all here.
Supplements: What are the extras?
This release is not listed as a special edition, but you might it is one, if you judge by the supplements included. You’ll find theatrical trailers for this film as well as The Remains Of The Day, liner notes, talent files, and seven minute making of featurette on this release, as well as some more substantial bonus features. Three bonus audio tracks are included, one of which is the isolated musical score, which is amazing and worthy of such a track. The other two audio tracks are running commentaries, one by director Neil Jordan, the other by actress Julianne Moore. Jordan’s track is more technical, while Moore’s is more geared toward what happened during the production. As such, the two tracks combine for a fuller look into the film and its production.