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Adrian Lyne
Michael Douglas, Glenn Close, Anne Archer
Writing Credits:
James Dearden

A married man's affair comes back to haunt him when that lover begins to stalk him and his family.

Rated R.

Box Office:
$14 million.
Opening Weekend
$7,602,740 on 758 screens.
Domestic Gross

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
English Dolby TrueHD 5.1
French Dolby 2.0
Spanish Dolby 1.0
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 119 min.
Price: $9.99
Release Date: 6/9/2009

• Audio Commentary with Director Adrian Lyne
• “Forever Fatal” Featurette
• “Social Attraction” Featurette
• “Visual Attraction” Featurette
• Rehearsal Footage
• Alternate Ending
• Trailer


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Fatal Attraction [Blu-Ray] (1987)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (December 8, 2019)

Back in 1987, the biggest hit movie in the US came from Three Men and a Baby, a family-friendly comedic romp. In second place came a surprise: Fatal Attraction, an “R”-rated sex thriller.

Those days are done! In today’s cinematic marketplace, it seems literally impossible to think that an “R”-rated adult-oriented drama like Attraction could wind up in the top 10, much less in second place.

The closest recent example I can conjure would be 2018’s A Star Is Born. Even though it did very well, it still couldn’t crack the US end-of-year top 10.

An adaptation of a 1980 short film called Diversion, Attraction introduces us to Dan Gallagher (Michael Douglas), a successful New York attorney. He leads a happy life with wife Beth (Anne Archer) and young daughter Ellen (Ellen Hamilton Latzen).

When Beth and Ellen go away for a weekend, Dan finds himself tempted by Alex Forrest (Glenn Close), a book editor he meets at a party. The pair indulge in a sexual affair over the period while Beth and Ellen remain out of town.

Dan sees this as a one-time fling, but Alex can’t let go. She gradually stalks and threatens Dan in an attempt to remain in his life.

As a 20-year-old in 1987, I suspect I viewed Dan as a victim, one who suffered an extreme penalty for his transgressions. As a 52-year-old in 2019, I view the situation differently.

Not that I don’t come with my own fears of the Psycho Stalker. I’ve never encountered anything on this movie’s level, but I’ve dated some pretty crazy women over the years, so from that POV, I should empathize with Dan.

But I don’t, mainly because he seems like such a selfish SOB. The guy has a gorgeous, loving wife and a nice kid, but he decides to risk all that for a little something-something?

To make matters worse, Dan compounds his error via his choice to spend an entire weekend with Alex. It’d be bad enough if they just indulged in a quickie, but he goes back for more, and then engages in a massive series of lies to cover up his misdeeds.

No, Dan’s not the sympathetic put-upon guy we viewed him as 32 years ago. Even his allegedly innocent choice to go to dinner with Alex appears contrived, as he clearly knows where he wants the evening to proceed.

The way Attraction tends to treat Dan as the hero and Alex as the villain dates the film and makes it tough to take at times. At no point does the movie offer any moral judgment on what Dan did/does, a choice that seems perplexing.

And I don’t think that’s just 32 years of hindsight. The more I think about Attraction, the more stunned I feel that we didn’t all loathe this selfish prick back then.

I think Attraction would work better with an unmarried Dan. Make Alex a woman who just won’t take “no” for an answer and he becomes a sympathetic protagonist.

But here Dan just looks like a lying a-hole. Even when he confesses his sin to Beth, he still doesn’t tell the whole truth, as he claims “it was just one night” since he knows an admission that he went back for seconds would seem even more damning.

Though I view the depiction of Dan as a borderline fatal flaw, Attraction comes with other issues as well. Alex’s insanity goes from zero to 60 too quickly, and I think a more gradual mental breakdown would’ve made more sense.

Also, there’s just not a lot of substance here. Alex does something nutty, Dan gets upset – lather, rinse, etc., without much more to bring to the table.

The actors do their best, though Douglas can’t make Dan sympathetic. Close tries to add warmth to Alex, but the script paints her as such a nutbag that she can’t achieve much with the part.

In the end, it’s the warped sense of protagonist/antagonist that becomes the biggest problem here. The movie offers a black and white portrait that falters due to a weird sense of morality.

The Disc Grades: Picture C+/ Audio C+/ Bonus B

Fatal Attraction appears in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. This was an average presentation.

Sharpness remained erratic. Actually, the movie usually displayed good definition, as the majority of the flick offered acceptable delineation.

I noticed no signs of jagged edges or shimmering, but moderate edge haloes persisted through parts of the movie. Grain felt inconsistent, as it seemed natural at times but too scrubbed on others.

This gave the movie an unnatural look on occasion, as the image could appear too smooth and polished. In terms of print flaws, a few specks popped up but nothing major interfered.

Colors were erratic as well. At their best, the tones appeared pretty lively, and the various settings offered a broad set of hues. However, at times the colors could be somewhat lifeless, so they lacked consistency.

Blacks were a little too dark, and shadows tended to appear somewhat dense as well. Perhaps this is as good as the film can look, but I doubt it.

Ups and downs also came from the Dolby TrueHD 5.1 soundtrack of Attraction. For the most part, the soundfield offered a subdued affair. Music showed nice stereo imaging, and the movie featured a decent sense of ambience.

Not too many scenes broadened beyond that general feeling of environment, though, and the track could feel largely monaural much of the time. Surround usage might’ve echoed the score but that was about it, so this was a chatty movie with a bland soundscape.

Audio quality felt fairly good. Speech seemed reasonably natural, and music showed acceptable clarity and range.

Effects seemed clear and accurate, though they also never stood out as especially memorable. Overall, the mix was fine for its age but not any better than that.

As we shift to extras, we launch with an audio commentary from director Adrian Lyne. He offers a running, screen-specific look at story/characters, cast and performances, music, editing, sets and locations, and reactions to the film.

For the most part, Lyne brings a pretty good commentary. He can simply narrate the movie a little more than I’d like, but overall, he gives us a fairly useful overview of production topics.

A few featurettes follow, and fills 28 minutes, 16 seconds with notes from Lyne, producers Sherry Lansing and Stanley R. Jaffe, screenwriter Nicholas Meyer, and actors Glenn Close, Michael Douglas and Anne Archer.

“Forever” covers the source film and its adaptation, story/character areas, how Lyne came to the production, cast and performances, the original ending, and the movie’s reception. “Forever” provides a mix of good details, and the inclusion of the production’s prime participants adds value.

With Social Attraction, we get a 10-minute reel that features Lyne, Jaffe, Lansing, Douglas, Close, Archer, Professor of Media Psychology Stuart Fischoff, film critic Jami Bernard, and Clinical Professor of Psychology Willard Gaylin.

“Social” examines interpretation of the film’s characters and themes as well as controversies. Though it ignores Dan’s culpability, “Social” still adds some useful notes, mainly related to the circa 1987 reactions.

Visual Attraction spans 19 minutes, 39 seconds and brings notes from Close, Lyne, Jaffe, costume designer Ellen Mirojnick, makeup artist Richard Dean, cinematographer Howard Atherton, and production designer Mel Bourne.

The program discusses costumes, hair/makeup, photography, sets/locations and other visual aspects of the production. It turns into an effective overview.

Next comes seven minutes, nine minutes of Rehearsal Footage. One part shows Douglas and Close together, while the other pairs Archer with an unnamed off-screen performer as Dan. Both are fun to see.

In addition to the film’s trailer, we conclude with an Alternate Ending. The clip fills 11 minutes, 51 seconds and shows a less crowd-pleasing finale.

I prefer the “Alternate Ending”, as it gives the movie a darker conclusion, one that actually seems to make Dan pay for his actions. I get why the studio opted for something more rousing, but this ending works better for the story.

Back in 1987, Fatal Attraction became a major critical and commercial hit. Today it seems like a relic, misogynistic and out of whack with reality. The Blu-ray boasts erratic picture and audio as well as a generally engaging set of bonus materials. Attraction doesn’t hold up well.

Viewer Film Ratings: 3.7142 Stars Number of Votes: 7
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