Enduring Love (2004)

DVD Cover (Paramount)
Genres: Drama, Psychological Drama, Psychological Thriller
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Roger Michell Roger Michell
Daniel Craig Daniel Craig
Samantha Morton Samantha Morton
Bill Weston Bill Weston
Jeremy McCurdie Jeremy McCurdie
Lee Sheward Lee Sheward

6.4 / 10 - Overall Rating

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Review by bluemeanie
Added: May 10, 2005
When a film chooses a genre, all discussions have closed. There can be little flip-flopping without the plot suffering. There can be no twists from comedy to science fiction. However, when a film refuses to choose a single genre, that opens up a whole new can of worms...it can be anything it wants to be; it can go anywhere it wants to go, with little regard for the viewer. That can be a fresh and exhilarating experience, proven completely by the marvelous new film "Enduring Love", directed by the incredible Roger Michell, who also made the outstanding and underrated "Changing Lanes" and "Notting Hill". With this film, he tackles subject matters that are totally different from any others he has explored...love...obsession...fate. By the end of the film, all the things that did not make sense finally add up, and we start to realize what has been going on all along.

Cheers to Michell for giving us one of the most incredible openings in cinematic history. Never has something so calm and mundane as a hot air balloon turned into something so terrifying and unpredictable. The story centers around Joe (Daniel Craig) and Claire (Samantha Morton), a couple who are experiencing a lovely picnic in the countryside when a hot air balloon crashes right beside of them, changing their lives forever. This accident sends a man named Jed (Rhys Ifans) into their lives. At first, he seems innocent enough...following Joe around, spouting off gibberish, eventually causing Joe to believe that he might be mad. However, soon the following turns into more of a stalker-like behavior, affecting Joe, his relationship with Claire, and his entire perception of the events surrounding the hot air balloon. By the end of the film, we realize that we have just been treated to a two hour lesson on love...and, my, does it pack a powerful punch.

At the beginning, the film seems kind of carefree -- even with the circumstances surrounding the hot air balloon...that is until we face mortality in the face. Then, the film turns very contemplative, as the character discuss life and love, trying to pin blame on one single element, and ultimately ignoring the idea that 'accidents happen'. When Jed re-enters the picture, the film goes to a more mystery feel...we don't really know what Jed wants or how he plans to get it. Then there is relationship drama. Then there is more contemplative process, with more attention being paid on the consuming power of obsession. By the end of the film, we have stumbled into a fast paced thriller that is associating obsession with love and death with life. I was amazed at how skillfully Michell was able to incorporate all of these elements into a single film. Boy, did he pull it off.

Ever since I saw him in "Sylvia", I knew Daniel Craig was just waiting to explode with a star making performance. This is it. As Joe, he is intense, playful, romantic, frightening, and very appealing. We understand the feelings that he has, and we can only imagine what it must be like to experience what he experienced. Samantha Morton, as always, continues to prove herself as one of the greatest actresses working today, and it was nice to see her take a role that was just a tiny bit more mainstream than most of her choices. The standout, however, is the incredible Rhys Ifans as Jed. He is able to make you feel sorry for his character for most of the film, only to be totally terrified of him by the end of the film. That is talent...especially when you consider he was the naked guy on the front stoop in "Notting Hill". Academy Award nominations for both Craig and Ifans would not be unthinkable, especially for Ifans, who continues to demonstrate his talents.

This film will make my end of the year list because I never knew what was going to happen next. It was totally original, totally engaging, and totally surprising. That is everything I could ever want in a motion picture. As for those who say the storyline is too incoherent and sometimes even downright confusing, I tell them to open their eyes. The meaning behind this film is right there in front of your eyes, if you just open up and look hard enough. "Enduring Love" could not have been a better title for this film, and I suggest that all of you make it a point to check this one out sooner rather than later. The more you support a film like this at the box office, the better chance it has of actually receiving some attention come awards season. 9/10.
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