Close My Eyes is a powerful British film about incest, with topflight performances and intense handling of the material by writer-director Stephen Poliakoff.
The early scenes somewhat awkwardly chart the relationship between Natalie (Saskia Reeves) and her younger brother Richard (Clive Owen) over a five-year period. They live in different British cities; one night, Richard stays in his sister’s apartment and both sense a new feeling of intimacy between them, though nothing happens.
Five years later, Natalie is married to the wealthy Sinclair (Alan Rickman) and they live in a magnificent house beside the Thames. Natalie visits her brother in his apartment, and the hitherto unspoken passion between them erupts into a sexual encounter.
The central triangular relationship is supported by well-observed and biting scenes involving marginal characters, such as Richard’s boss (Karl Johnson), who is quietly dying of AIDS, or the girl (Kate Garside) he picks up to try to get over his passion for Natalie.
Reeves and Owen give brave, strong, unstinting performances. Rickman has his best screen role to date as the pompous but kindly husband.