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Close My Eyes Review

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A sister and brother come together after growing up apart and realise that their affection for each other goes far beyond family love.

★★★★★

One of the country’s most prolific and “modern” playwrights and TV auteurs, Stephen Poliakoff directs his second theatrical feature with a real eye for the possibilities of the big-screen camera.

Then, too, the subject matter and frankly presented sex scenes mark out his film as something a little different from your average British Channel 4 number masquerading as a fully-fledged movie. The plot, such as it is, concerns the relationship between Natalie (an unsympathetic Reeves) and Richard (Owen, excellent), a sister and brother who grew up apart and don’t know each other very well. After years of aimless unhappiness Natalie has married an extremely wealthy and somewhat eccentric husband (Rickman), while Richard has exchanged his glitzy career for an enviromentally conscious job in the Docklands. It is at this moment that Natalie gives into her long-suppressed physical desire for her butch and beautiful brother.

The lust is mutual, but matters are complicated when Richard falls in love with his sister and makes a lover’s emotional demands which she refuses to meet. All well and good, except that it just doesn't work as a movie

Concerned, no doubt, to reflect the London of the 90s — mad, bad and dangerous — Poliakoff introduces little subplots (Richard’s uptight boss is hospitalised for AIDS) which are left unexplored and have little bearing on the main issue.

This is one of those films whose ambitious intentions seem to get left behind in the mind and imagination of its creator — what is on the screen is, frankly, just not good enough, being neither rigorous nor entertaining.

The screenplay is improperly focused, the characterisations superficial and unsatisfying, and the encounters between sister and brother grow not only repetitive but risible.

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