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9 1/2 Weeks


Fatal Attraction


Jacob's Ladder


Indecent Proposal







Adrian Lyne
A Filmography

Adrian Lyne has built a career out of making obsessive films, often sexual in nature. He's never been afraid to take on taboo subjects, and his reputation has occasionally suffered as a result. While others have played it safe and given us cute aliens or epic battles, Lyne gives us the cinematic equivalent of picking up a large rock and looking at what squirms beneath it.

He's turned in his share of money makers, though, and they've allowed him the freedom to pick and choose the projects that interest him. The strategy has lead to at least one stellar clunker, but it's also allowed him to tackle the extremely sensitive Lolita as well as a couple other projects that other established directors would not have touched with a ten-foot tub of extra-buttered popcorn.

Foxes (1980)
Lyne's first effort, with early performances by Jodie Foster and Laura Dern as young California girls coming of age with little or no adult supervision. Of course, while they're searching for a good time, they find tragedy. (And I'm not just referring to Scott Baio's performance.) Shows promise but doesn't live up to its potential.

Flashdance (1983)
The first film from the Don Simpson-Jerry Bruckheimer dynamo that eventually redefined the ways movies were packaged. Flashdance was a tremendous hit, earning in the neighborhood of $85 million on an ultra-low budget. It struck a chord in the dreamers of the world; for about a year, it was impossible to turn on MTV without seeing footage from the movie chopped up into several videos. This made Lyne a very bankable name and allowed him to choose his next project.

9 1/2 Weeks (1986)
The steamiest mainstream movie since Bertolucci's Last Tango In Paris. The fact that stars Mickey Rourke and Kim Basinger were willing to plumb the depths of perversity made the film much stronger. And because its release on videotape coincided with the growth of the video rental market, it became a staple for every video store. The sado-masochistic themes were too strong for a lot of stomachs, but it struck nerves in people who had always fantasized about such things but could never bring themselves to express their darker side.

Fatal Attraction (1987)
Another story of obsession gone wrong. Michael Douglas has a one-night stand with Glenn Close while his wife is out of town and ends up with the ultimate psycho-bitch from hell on his heels. This is one of the tightest thrillers made in recent years and would have done the masters of the genre proud. Close successfully changed her image from sweet to sour in a knife-wielding, bunny-boiling role. Lyne's original ending had Close successfully frame Douglas for her murder, but that was considered too much for audiences to take, so the current ending was tacked on in its place.

Jacob's Ladder (1990)
By far the most atypical of all of Lyne's work—essentially a reworking of An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge. Far too many flashbacks make the work difficult to decipher, but it's visually stunning and contains some fine acting by Tim Robbins. Unusual movie and worth working through.

Indecent Proposal (1993)
It stirred up a lot of controversy when it came out, but now, only a few years later, it's merely a joke that pops up in sitcoms from time to time: for a million dollars, would you let your wife sleep with someone? On a deeper level, it deals with trust and the ability to separate love from sex (thus connecting it, of course, to Fatal Attraction). Ultimately, it's a flat movie that teases but doesn't deliver. But because it had Robert Redford, Demi Moore and Woody Harrelson, it made a ton of money.

Lolita (1997)
Certainly more faithful to Nabokov's original novel than Kubrick's 1962 adaptation, and Lyne got some fine performances from Jeremy Irons and Frank Langella. But it was less than a stellar performance, money-wise. (What could Lyne expect when three studios refused to release it, fearing backlash from the community?) The controversy and anger it stirred up may send Lyne on a longer vacation than he's used to.

—Review by John Porter

Posted July 1, 1999





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