Intense take on lan McEwan's psych chiller
Fans of the book will be dying to know how Roger Michell handles the shock opening, and he sends this balloon up and away with tension, flair, colour and a sense of awe. Thereafter, a claustrophobic, twitchy domestic drama sets in, till the climax implodes with silly mad-stalker histrionics. A shame: for an hour the intricate (very French) direction and acting of Daniel Craig and Samantha Morton are totally absorbing. But the atmosphere’s derailed by the miscasting of Rhys lfans as a pitiful psychotic. You keep expecting him to bare his bum: scary, but not that scary.
Intellectuals Joe (Craig) and Claire (Morton) find faultlines in their relationship when Joe fails to save a man pulled to his death by a hot air balloon. Another witness, Jed (Ifans), begins to harangue Joe with visits and calls, until it’s clear he’s a dangerous obsessive. Surely contrary to McEwan’s intentions, it turns into Fatal Attraction without the laughs. Much analysis of What Love Means honours the novel, but the bubble pops.