Sunday, February 23, 2020


Movie Name: Damage
Year of Release: 1992
Director: Louis Malle
Starring: Jeremy Irons, Juliette Binoche, Miranda Richardson, Rupert Graves, Ian Bannen, Peter Stormare, Julian Fellowes, Leslie Caron, Tony Doyle
Genre: Drama
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 7
Watch it on Amazon

Synopsis and Review:
Following the well received "Milou en Mai" and the Oscar nominated "Au Revoir Les Enfants", Louis Malle decided to tackle an adaptation of Josephine Hart's book, "Damage" with a screenplay from playwright David Hare. The film follows the story of Stephen Fleming, a physician now involved in politics. He is married to Ingrid, and has two children. His oldest, Martyn, begins a relationship with a young woman by the name of Anna. Upon meeting her Stephen is clearly attracted to her, and they both start an affair, that gets all the more consuming and obsessive for Stephen. As he probes deeper, and learns more about Anna's life, family and past, his devotion is never ending, obsessively following her, even when she's with Martyn. When Martyn proposes to Anna, there's a decision to end the affair, but sadly Martyn uncovers the whole situation with dramatic results. 
Louis Malle's films have always been interestingly nuanced observations of relationships that may at times be considered taboo, something that can be witnessed with his American films "Pretty Baby" and "Atlantic City". His most successful films always probe into what connects characters, and how the ties that are eventually established, are shaped by a variety of factors, with sex being one of them. "Damage" is in a way, the most erotically charged film of his career, but one where some of the topics of his filmography permeate clearly: the connection of characters/people beyond their obvious differences, and a certain disregard for the norms (or what society deems acceptable). "Damage" manages to illustrate Stephen's life, his boxed existence quite well, particularly how the infusion of the erotic thrill of Anna's existence reawakens him (and propels him in a downward spiral of obsession). The film is less successful in bringing a certain dimension to Anna, with some aspects of the character, her "damaged" aspect, feeling a bit unresolved (the same way, it's never quite understood her apparently inescapable seductive powers, no matter how lovely Juliette Binoche is). It's a film that lives from the considerable talents of its cast, with Jeremy Irons, Juliette Binoche (as she was moving into her more well known roles), Miranda Richardson (who was nominated for an Oscar with this role) and Rupert Graves (from James Ivory's "A Room with a View" and "Maurice"), all inhabiting these characters with gusto and credibility. A good film worth watching.