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'Fatal Affair' Review: Haven't We Seen This Before?

'Fatal Affair' Review: Haven't We Seen This Before?

A lawyer reconnects with an old college friend amid a troubled marriage, but the friend turns into a stalker and now she fears for the lives of her family.

Netflix's latest offering to the world of film is one that fashions itself an erotic thriller. We've all seen movies like this that have kept us riveted to our seats, with suspense and intrigue. Sadly, the people at Netflix doing these films seem to be fresh out of film school. While this film has a few moments that might pique your interest, it's not very well-developed and leaves you wondering what they thought when they decided to put out a so unpolished a film.

A Cookie-Cutter Plot

The premise of the film is one that could fit into any suburban setting. A successful lawyer and her architect husband move to California near the beach to be closer to their daughter, who's studying at Berkeley. In the course of her job, she runs into an old schoolmate who meets her to catch up. Amid a night filled with alcohol, she almost makes a mistake and sleeps with the old schoolmate, but catches herself just before it happens. The schoolmate, however, has been carrying a torch for years and has some...anger management issues. With a setup like that, it's almost guaranteed that you won't end up with many surprises.

Script: 4/10

Scripts written for these sorts of linear plots don't have a lot of room for deviation. Even so, this one decides to add almost nothing to the typical fare for this kind of movie. The characters don't have any outstanding dialog. It all feels sterilized and packaged. Even the protagonist's worry, fear, and frustration are heavily muted. Many things could have been done to improve upon the movie's plot, but it's a shame that no one saw fit to tweak it to make it more interesting.

Cast: 5/10

Nia Long as Ellie Warren

The cast is one of the few bright spots in what's otherwise a dreary and forgettable movie experience. Nia Long is fantastic in her role as protagonist Ellie Warren, but even her expressive acting couldn't redeem the shallow character development. Omar Epps was okay as the surprise villain David Hammond. If you've grown up watching Epps in House, it might take you a little bit to let his character cut through that view of him. The fact that he does make you see him differently is a testament to his acting skills. One of the most disappointing things about this movie is how little time they dedicated to the supporting cast. Stephen Bishop, as Marcus Warren, has a deep backstory that the writers just brush off. Similarly, Maya Stojan, as Courtney seems like a paper-thin, one-dimensional character despite the allusion to a deeper relationship with Ellie. The casting was decent, even though character development should have been better.

Pacing: 2/10

The movie isn't really that poorly paced, but the problems I have with the pacing all come from the plot's predictability. You don't need to have seen the movie before to know where everything is going to end up. I must have said, "Of Course" at least a dozen times throughout the film because it's almost like rereading a book you've already read before. While this might not be a problem if the plot was enjoyable, the lack of twists and turns in what categorizes itself a thriller is underwhelming.

Composition: 4/10

A Happy Couple? Maybe Not.

With the rest of the film being as lackluster as it was, it was nice to see that the movie was composed very professionally. There's no weird cuts and strange shots that make no sense. There's very little erotic push in a film that adds "erotic" to its thriller descriptor, but that's fine. When the plot's this terrible, not even a half an hour of those kinds of scenes could save this movie from itself. One of the best things about the composition was how well the stalking scenes were done. All in all, the structure was decent, although not groundbreaking.

Overall: 4/10

This type of movie is usually crafted to appeal to a specific kind of watcher. Even so, we've seen movies like this a thousand times before. They go through the same song-and-dance, with a name and face change between the characters. As a tried-and-true formula, the thriller is still a good sell. The conflict within Ellie's marriage is believable but bland. The director didn't seem like they wanted to take any risks, and the result was a vanilla piece of cinema. If you're looking for an erotic thriller, almost anything else in the genre is better than this. At best, this is a forgettable, rainy evening movie that won't stay with you past the ending credits.

Disclaimer : The views expressed in this article belong to the writer and are not necessarily shared by trinikid.com

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