Thursday, August 8, 2013

The End of the Affair (1999)

The End of the Affair is a moving film directed by Neil Jordan and adapted from the novel by Graham Greene.

Bendrix (Ralph Fiennes) is a writer engulfed in hate and jealousy as he recounts his scandalous affair with Sarah (Julianne Moore), the wife of Henry (Stephen Rea). Although Sarah has expressed her unconditional love numerous times, Bendrix, being an incredibly skeptical, jealous lover, simply wasn't convinced. He fears that he's only a temporary part of Sarah's life and their relationship is no more than physical. He hired a private investigator to report his own affair so he could show the evidence to Henry, ensuring a divorce. In spite of Henry's negligence towards her, Sarah puts closure on her affairs and is resolute in keeping her promise and saving her loveless marriage but fears that memories of Bendrix will haunt her forever. 

The nature of their romance and eventual separation has a sense of irony. During the war, they were at peace with each other while the denouement of war caused their relationship to fall apart. Ultimately, both Bendrix and Sarah abandon their atheist beliefs once they witness a miracle. "I have tempted fate, and fate had accepted." However, the conclusion proves to be a tragedy similar to One Day. As a result, Bendrix's character starts bitter and ends bitter in his narration throughout the film.

The soundtrack by Michael Nyman is powerful and poignant, escalating the emotional scenes. In addition, the cinematography was excellent, earning an Academy Award nomination. I love how the story is interlaced between the past and present throughout his narration such as the scene where Bendrix ascends the stairs and recalls the night he first met Sarah. Another interesting technique is how several scenes are portrayed from the point of view of both characters through their journals, creating a whole new interpretation of the story. Ralph Fiennes and Julianne Moore did a great job of portraying their roles as lovers tormented by love. "I awoke to a changed world. For a moment, I was free of, hate, jealousy...and it all felt like happiness."

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