I wont be ignored Dan!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Seemingly happily married man, Dan Gallagher, gives in to the seductive charm of Alex Forrest and partakes in a night of wild sexual passion with her. Trouble is, is that Alex is a tad unhinged and a woman scorned can be the ultimate nightmare.
I have just revisited this monster smash hit from the 80s (highest grossing film of 1987), and it still packs the same punch as it did back in the late 80s when it not only became a big hit, it also became a cultural phenomenon and one of the most talked about films of the decade. I'm saddened by the relatively average rating here because its significance and bravery should always be highlighted instead of pointless allegations about it being only of its time. Just how many imitations did Fatal Attraction spawn I wonder? Fatal Attraction was a monster hit because it gave the audience something different, a monster flip flop of having the man stalked by an uncontrollable female loony. Much credit goes to screenwriter James Dearden for laying it on like a slowly tightening spring waiting to explode, for as the plot unfolds and Alex Forrest's Madame Butterfly fuelled revenge gathers apace, the audience starts to realise it has been doubly conflicted on the emotional character attachment front.
Dan has done the dirty on his beautiful wife and child, the bastard deserves what is coming to him for sure? Alex is right in that he's had his fun and now she can basically go and whistle at the moon, but the cheeky saver here from the makers is that Alex did the chasing knowing that Dan was happily married, she led the way fully armed with the facts. This makes for a wonderfully constructed thriller that ups the suspense quota to positively seal the deal with a heart stopping finale. I'm mightily relieved that American test audiences gave the thumbs down to the rather downbeat original ending that saw Alex committing suicide and thus framing Dan for her murder, the ending that stands may lose impact on repeat viewings, but boy it has still got a kick to it.
Glenn Close is fantastic as Alex, playing against type she manages to convince as a disturbed individual, a perfect blend of sadness and soul destroying stupidness. Michael Douglas is also giving a performance of depth, firmly in the shadow of Glen Close's film stealing show, he none the less plays it perfectly and is believable in all aspects of the character, and I'm sure the ladies watching were pleased to see no sign of the saggy bottom that scared them in Basic Instinct five years later! This film coupled with Wall Street in the same year would propel Douglas to major A list status, and he rightly deserved it in my opinion. Anne Archer is Beth Gallagher, the hurt wife of the piece, she looks stunning and sexy, but thoughts of her looks are quickly erased with a special two layered performance of note. Containing a great script and directed astutely by Adrian Lyne, Fatal Attraction remains one of the best thrillers of the 80s, it was talked about profusely back then, and here and now it should not be forgotten. 9/10