Review: ‘Damage’

A complex look at an illicit affair that ends in disaster for all concerned, Damage is a cold, brittle film [from the novel by Josephine Hart] about raging, traumatic emotions. Unjustly famous before its release for its hardly extraordinary erotic content, this veddy British-feeling drama from vet French director Louis Malle proves both compelling and borderline risible, wrenching and yet emotionally pinched.

A complex look at an illicit affair that ends in disaster for all concerned, Damage is a cold, brittle film [from the novel by Josephine Hart] about raging, traumatic emotions. Unjustly famous before its release for its hardly extraordinary erotic content, this veddy British-feeling drama from vet French director Louis Malle proves both compelling and borderline risible, wrenching and yet emotionally pinched.

Jeremy Irons plays Stephen Fleming, a graying, very proper figure in the Tory establishment who has married into money and lives a carefully groomed and organized existence. His wife, Ingrid (Miranda Richardson), may be more intelligent than he; and son Martyn (Rupert Graves), has just embarked upon a promising journalism career.

At a boring political cocktail party, Stephen exchanges significant eye contact with his son’s striking g.f., Anna Barton (Juliette Binoche), and destiny is written. At their next encounter Stephen is in Anna’s pants in record time.

Irons’ character becomes more loathsome as he goes along, but thesp’s is expertly calibrated performance. Richardson puts frightening force behind her rage when all hell finally breaks loose.

1992: Nomination: Best Supp. Actress (Miranda Richardson)

Damage

UK - France

Production

Skreba/NEF/Canal Plus. Director Louis Malle; Producer Louis Malle; Screenplay David Hare; Camera Peter Biziou; Editor John Bloom; Music Zbigniew Preisner; Art Director Brian Morris

Crew

(Color) Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1992. Running time: 112 MIN.

With

Jeremy Irons Juliette Binoche Miranda Richardson Rupert Graves Ian Bannen Leslie Caron

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