Sunday, March 14, 2010

Review: Reversal of Fortune (1990)

Wow, this was probably the first Glenn Close movie which I did not want to see because of Great Glenn, but to see a Best Actor winning performance. But if I had watched it only because of her I would not have been disappointed, because this is a brilliant, intelligent and first-class movie.
The movie deals with the infamous case of Claus von Bülov (Jeremy Irons), who is found guilty of attempting to kill his wealthy wife, Sunny (Glenn Close) and afterwards hires Alan Dershowitz (Ron Silver) for his appeal. Of course the story is not nearly as simple as it seems to be as Sunny narrates the whole movie and we can see different points of view concerning the night of the (crime?).
The most fascinating thing about this movie is that it keeps us in uncertainty. You don't know anything and if you want to be 100% sure if Claus was guilty, you will be disappointed. This movie is not a courtroom drama, it's rather a fascinating character study with a fabulously written, simply brilliant screenplay (which IMO deserved the Oscar much more than Dances with Wolves even though I love that movie) and equally amazing performances by Jeremy Irons, Ron Silver and Great Glenn.
Of course the reason why I watched this film was Jeremy Irons. Let me say that I'm not a big fan of his, I haven't seen many of his movies, but in this role he was simply flawless. His subtlety and great sense of humor added a real depth to this exciting character and that's why I think he was 100% deserving of that Best Actor, which is (undeservedly) one of the least mentioned and most forgotten wins ever. Nevertheless, he was very worthy.
Ron Silver is also excellent as Alan Dershowitz, the lawyer, but somehow I did not understand the character and what he believed and did not believe about Claus. Anyway, he was great and IMO easily could have received a "co-lead type" supporting actor nomination.
And the fabulous Glenn Close was simply robbed of a supporting actress WIN. Yes, she's that brilliant as the unhappy Sunny. I mean the scenes where she breaks down are unbelievable. I think the main reason that she did not receive the nomination (and the Oscar) was a general confusion if she was leading or supporting. Although she received the top billing (she's the most famous cast member), I think she's rather supporting, because this is the story of Claus and Alan and her scenes are important only because of Claus and not her. Anyway, she's brilliant.
The rest of the cast is also excellent, including Felicity Huffman or (in an extremely minor role) Edie Falco. But this movie is really not about them.
I forgot to praise the excellently accurate direction of Barbet Schroeder which was brilliant and worthy of the nomination. And so was the movie itself, but I guess the Academy just had to nominate the audience-favorite Ghost (which is only tolerable good of the brilliant Whoopi Goldberg). Whatever.
Grade: 9.5/10 A true masterpiece. It still has its effect on me.
Nominations: Best Director (Schroeder), Best Actor (Jeremy Irons, WON), Best Adapted Screenplay
My wins: Irons for Actor and the Screenplay with Glenn for Supporting/Lead Actress (in a perfect world where she would have been nominated)

P.S.: Thanks to Louis Morgan for the help.


joe burns said...

I've always been interested in the real Claus Von Bulow story, so I've always been sort of interested in seeing this, but never have. But really? You would give Glenn Close the win? Not to say I think she will be bad, but over Whoopi Goldberg and Lorraine Bracco?

dinasztie said...

Yes, but you know that I'm a die-hard Glenn fan, so that might influence me. But I'm saying that she's brilliant and probably better than those ladies who were also brilliant. But she's definitely my win for Dangerous Liaisons and this. Do you like her in the episodes of Damages? For example I think she gave her career-best performance in the final episode of Season 2.

dinasztie said...

Oh and if you want to see it, here's the link:

joe burns said...

I've never seen Damages, but I really liked her in Dangerous Liasons and she's my choice for 1988, even though I haven't seen Streep and Weaver yet. I haven't seen Fatal Attraction yet either. You should do a 1988 Best Actress smackdown next! Thanks for the link!

Louis Morgan said...

No problem.