Red-hot Heather Graham (Boogie Nights) and Joseph Fiennes (Shakespeare in Love) sizzle like never before in this steamy sexual odyssey about the addictive and deadly powers of illicit passion. Too much of a good thing ca... more »n be deadly. When Alice (Graham), an American living inLondon, meets Adam (Fiennes), a handsome adventurer, she's lured out of her safe, mundane life to pursue an affair that brings her to the heights of excitement and ecstasy. But when Adam's mysteriousand violent past begins to surface, Alice investigates and learns that Adam's pastand her future may both point to murder!« less
Considering the Talent Involved, the Film is Disappointing
Tsuyoshi | Kyoto, Japan | 01/28/2003
(2 out of 5 stars)
""Killing Me Softly" is not that Roberta Flack song Hugh Grant sang on stage in "About a Boy." It is the film version of thriller of the same name written by Nicci French (a pen name of husband-wife team Nicci Gerrard and Sean French). But what is most attractive is not the origin of the film; it is the first English-speaking film by the critically acclaimed Chinese director Chen Kaige, known for his masterpieces like "Farewell My Concubine" and "Yellow Earth." And this thriller set in modern London stars Heather Graham and Jeseph Fiennes (credits in that order), plus Natascha McElhone ("Ronin") and special appearance of Ian Hart (the first "Harry Potter") . So, you ask me, why should I give only two stars? Wait a minute, please, but I tell you the story first.
Heather Graham is Alice, an American, living in London for 18 months and working as a web site designer there. She has an English boyfriend (who watches football games on TV), but one morning on her way to office she meets Joseph Fiennes's world-famous mountain climber Adam when Alice accidentally touches his hand, waiting for the signal on the street. She instantly falls in love with him madly; even in her office she cannot shake off his image; and finally she follows him, goes to his house, and just wants him. All these things happen in about 5 hours of a day.
And they get married. But soon Alice learns that she does not know anything about his past, not surprisingly. Then, anonymous letters warning her about him start to come. Then, Alice begins to suspect that Adam, behind his wild character, is trying to hide some horrible secret that might be connected with the terrible accident that happened on the mountain. Or is that really an accident?
OK. This is a thriller which uses a premise: "Can you trust your husband?" Yes, once Hitchcock did it (the title should remain unnamed, but you might remember that breathtaking car-running-by-the-cliff scene). For the reasons below, "Killing Me Softly" never achieves that height. The film is thrill-free, and is saddled with incredible plot and creaky dialogues. I don't like to talk like this especially when I like Heather Graham very much, but before I write this review, I checked it on video, and sorry, but I cannot still change my mind. (I am a Japanese, and was lucky to see the film earlier than many people in the world as the film was theatrically released here in Feb. 2002, one year before American release). Yes, thrill is gone.
What happened? Joseph Fiennes does his best, so does Heather Graham, but there is no chemistry between them that might make us believe in their love-turns-fear relation. Furthermore, the director Chen Kaige is too intent on portraying the sex scenes of them, many of them describing ... how do you say in English ... a sort of kinky stuff. (So, if you really want to see my point, see the unrated version.) Besides, what can we audience do but giggle when we see usually great Fiennes holds a poor panting goldfish on his palm, to illustrate the lack of oxygen up among the high mountains? Or when Heather is mugged in the street of London, robbed of her bag, and Fiennes chases the robber desperately, hits the guys's head against the telephone booth (breaking the glass), and beats the hapless criminal (but which?) to pulp? And see what they would do after that (I keep that part secret for you). In short, everything is too unbelievable, even by the standard of melodrama or potboiler.
There is, however, some good points about the film. The photography is very beautiful, capturing the lively feelings of the streets of London, and it is no so-called "postcard" beauty. British photographer Micheal Coulter is famous for his works like "Four Weddings and a Funeral" "Notting Hill," and "Sense and Sensibility" and his London is strangely other-worldly feeling, I mean, totally different London. The film is always stylish, and the soundtrack is by Patrick Doyle even though his music (good itself) tends to hammer as if to instruct us what to feel.
It is cruel to say this, I know, but "Killing Me Softly" is, considering the talent involved, a great disappointment. The film may gain a cult status, and if you ask me whether I like it or not, I say I like it. But will I recommend this to my friends? No.
One last curious thing; one of the executive-producers is Ivan Reitman ("Evolution" "Twins" and others)."
D. Knouse | vancouver, washington United States | 02/08/2004
(2 out of 5 stars)
"Okay, I freely admit to being a heterosexual male who heard that this film (unrated) had a sexually willing Heather Graham in it, and that the story was passable (I hoped). Please, would somebody send me a hormone inhibitor, so that the next time I feel the need to gaze upon a gorgeous naked woman I will not be subjected to such predictable movie-fare with virtually zero chemistry between any of the actors. For what it's worth, Heather Graham does look amazing! But all the sex scenes were passionless, staged eye-candy for suckers like me who ended up buying the movie. After watching this I sincerely wanted to watch "Boogie Nights" again to see Heather Graham both act and look incredibly sexy. Near the end of this movie, however, I was nearly laughing at how fake the snow looked. You could actually see where the snow-blowers were blasting the little flakes of "cotton balls?" from behind the trees. Some of the "snow" even got caught in the actors' hair, making them look like they were being attacked by dust bunnies. It was ridiculous. So, why didn't I give this 1 star? Well, some of the individual acting was okay. Just "okay." And I appreciated the feeble attempt at a remake of the Hitchcock classic "Suspicion." Other than that, this movie is thin, plastic, and cleverly targeted an obviously susceptible demographic: me. Do not watch this film."
A Softcore/Thriller - Killing Me Softly
Mr D. | Cave Creek, Az United States | 06/01/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Perhaps I got wrapped up in the sex scenes, it was easy to do but I thought this was a first rate well done soft porn movie, perhaps the best I've seen. Killing Me Softly opens a sensuous window into the highly erotic coupling and de-coupling (literally and metaphorically) of two most attractive individuals. Though this movie failed to capture the imagination of most movie reviewers, it did capture mine!
Though there are many actors in this movie, it is centered on and revolves around the trinity of Adam, Alice and Deborah (Adam's sister). Alice is a normal girl with a live in boyfriend and a good eight to five job, that is until, on the way to work one morning, she runs into Adam.
Adam (Joseph Fiennes) and Alice (Heather Graham) meet at a crosswalk, while she's waiting to cross the street to work. Their eyes lock, Adam smiles and Alice is smitten. Within two minutes, after a taxi ride to Adam's home, with animalistic urgency, our lustful pair is energetically copulating on the living room floor. Is this a courtship made in heaven? I don't think so. Alice didn't even find out his name until the next day, when she went over to a book store across the street from where she works, where she had seen him in the previous day and found out he's the subject of a book, a famous a famous mountain climber, Adam Tallis.
After a couple of penetrating sexual-therapy sessions and after dumping her dumpy live in boyfriend, Alice returns for another encore and meets Adam's sister Deborah (Natascha McElhone), who looks suspiciously like a young Jane Seymour. After some pleasant enough girlie talk she sends Alice off the Adam's real house. It seems Adam was using her flat while she was out of town.
Soon the newly free Alice moves in with Adam and their romance blossoms and they are in love but then she gets what appears to be a crank letter and that gets her thinking, what does she know about Adam and then there's that padlocked closet in his bedroom.
After, Adam saves an overwhelmed and grateful Alice from a mugger, she agrees to get hitched but even after their marriage the letters keep coming and then she finds out that Adam's girlfriend was killed in a climbing accident. All of a sudden Alice is in a panic trying to find out everything she can about the man she's married to.
One has to wonder whether this is a thriller with a wildly erotic undertone woven in or a pleasantly erotic film with a suspenseful base. I think of it as the latter. The film, at one hundred minutes, seems to move quite well with no flat spots and the actors appear to be well suited for their parts. Fiennes did an excellent job of portraying a serious, intense individual with a powerful personality. One could understand why the slightly naïve, sensitive character of Alice would gravitate to the overpowering personality of Adam. Graham and McElhone also nailed their respective parts of Alice and the sister Deborah.
I also thought the director did a good job although to hear a lot of the critics, you think he failed miserably, in fact of the critics of moviedom only about twenty percent gave this movie a favorable rating overall.
Sorry I'm going to respectfully agree to disagree with the critics and reviewers. There is just too much passionate lusty sex and too much nudity to not consider this film Softcore and in comparison to the many other Softcore movies I've seen, this should be up for a Softcore Academy Award.
If you're wondering why you never saw this movie in the theater(I'm speaking to American readers), it's because after showing in theaters in Europe and elsewhere it was released directly on DVD in the states.
Nicely done thriller with a twist!
Kyle | Brooklyn, NY United States | 04/22/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Killing Me Softly is one of those movies in which you can only watch it once, but it holds a spot. Alice (Heather Graham) has a ordered life. She works for a company in which she makes discs for games. On one morning, she meets a total stranger Adam (Joseph Fiennes). For that split second, she falls in love. They go back to his place and fool around passionatly. The sex scenes, are pretty good for a direct video release. After that she lives with him, and one day, he asks her to marry him. They get married at his familys own church. They go hiking for their honeymoon (not very romatic). After this happens, Alice gets letters from a person saying "How fare will you let him go"? She begins to question if he really is a sweet man or a violent man. Clues begin to happen through out the movie. Killing me softly, is rated "R" for strong sexualtity and nudity, some violence, and brief language. Their is an UNRATED VERION in which that is the one I have bought. The only thing different between the two versions, and there is more nudity. People say this a Thriller. I think it is a Light Thriller. I would have given it 5 stars, but there wasnt enough thrills. Final Verdict 0-10Story- 8
Thrills/Suspense- between 6 and 7Average- 8If you liked this movie I recomend Fatal Attraction, Unfaithful, and Original Sin."
It's all about the eye candy!
ll4life | Los Angeles, CA USA | 07/01/2003
(3 out of 5 stars)
"The things I really enjoyed about this film are the overall production design and look of the film in general. A perfect combo for the popcorn movie enthusiast: beautiful locations (vibrant London and the English countryside), beautiful clothing (Heather Graham and Joseph Fiennes are always in ultra chic duds!), and beautiful people in the buff. Chen Kaige has a wonderful visual style (see Yellow Earth, Farewell My Concubine, and his latest, Together among others). He understands the use of colors and landscapes. This film is definitely millions of miles away from his Chinese language films in content but his visual style is still present. A good film to watch for kicks!"