There is something about Fatal attraction which doesn’t sit right. The movie shouldn’t work. It is about a crazed, obsessed woman who tries to force her way into the life and affection of a married man she had a one-night stand with. In this situation though, the woman shouldn’t be the villain here.
Michael Douglas, as Dan Gallagher, the cheating husband, should be the person who deserves the punishment, especially when the movie introduces us to his perfect life and cute family. That isn’t the way the movie is focused though and rather than celebrate the love-cheat getting his comeuppance, you actually hope his life can go back to the serenity that started the first act.
This is down to two aspects. The first is that Michael Douglas is at his charming best here. The actor can win round a room with a single smile and this movie is no different. It fits neatly alongside his other “erotic-thrillers,” particularly Basic Instinct, and no matter how despicable his actions are, you want him to survive and succeed.
The real star of the movie is of course Glenn Close. She gets to play one of cinema’s greatest villains. She is calculating, dark, scheming and obsessive. She is unhinged which makes her so terrifying and her actions drive the audience to side with Douglas. Each time Close is on-screen the intensity is fantastic, from seducing Douglas in the first act to terrorising his family in the final third.
Her actions make for the thrill-ride that Fatal Attraction becomes. It is a movie with plenty of twists and turns. One kidnapping moment sends shivers down anyone’s spine, parent or not, while Douglas coming home to see Close in the house with his wife, played sympathetically by Anne Archer, will have you watching through your fingers. It is thrilling and considering that the world isn’t at stake and no major issues need to be solved; this is a film about a man saving his marriage and family.
In a film with great performances and great tension, it is well-known for that one scene. The “bunny-boiling” is done brilliantly and manages to shift the film into a higher gear. It also leads nicely to the very tense, greatly staged finale, which manages to give the right person the “final blow” and have the audience on the edge of their seat.
Overall, Fatal Attraction manages to shift the allegiance of the audience away from the scorned woman to the cheating-husband and this is in no small part down to the two great central performances. Michael Douglas is as charming as ever but Glenn Close steals the film, creating a villain who will go down in movie history.
Rating – 4
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