DVD review – Damage (1992), Region 4, Roadshow

When originally released in 1992 Damage created a minor fuss with its exploration of the relationship between pain and desire, articulated by an affair between a British MP (Jeremy Irons) and his son’s fiancé (Juliette Binoche). Watching it now it is a mystery why this tedious film generated any interest at all.

Directed by Louis Malle (My Dinner with Andre, Vanya on 42nd Street) with a screenplay by David Hare (Closer), Damage is a series of pregnant pauses, intense lingering stares and unintentionally humorous sex scenes that resembles bad interpretive dance. A production documentary on the DVD reveals how enamoured Malle and the cast were with the source novel by Josephine Hart, but this is clearly a case where something has been lost in the transfer from page to screen.

Despite some excellent cinematography (although the less than subtle use of red to indicate passion/danger wore out its welcome) Damage is a plodding melodramatic affair that resembles a parody of a self-important art-house film.

Worst of all it is one of those films that looks like it is about to finish at around the 90 minute mark to only continue for another 20 minutes. Yes, I was watching the clock. 


© Thomas Caldwell, 2006