The End of the Affair (1999)
What Neil Jordan's The End of the Affair lacks in subtlety, it more than makes up in simple unbridled passion. This adaptation of Graham Greene's celebrated 1951 novel tells the story of novelist Maurice Bendrix (Ralph Fiennes) and his passionate affair with Sarah Miles (Julianne Moore), the wealthy wife of a British businessman (Stephen Rea). The tale, loosely inspired by Greene's own highly publicized relationship with American Catherine Walston, is gripping, but Jordan is not content to rest on the book's laurels. Many plot aspects have been changed, and the resulting film focuses less on the shadowy intrigue of Greene's story and more on the romance at the center. Even so, there is plenty of the noir atmosphere which characterizes so much of Jordan's other work (Interview with the Vampire, In Dreams, The Crying Game), including the haunting photography, which conveys as much mystery as the screenplay. This movie is that most beloved of rarities: a film which is arguably better than the novel which inspired it. Columbia has gone to great lengths to pack this disc with special features, and, as usual, we're not disappointed: in addition to a choice between widescreen and full-frame versions of the movie, you'll find two very interesting audio commentary tracks (one with Jordan, the other with Julianne Moore, who was nominated for an Oscar for her performance here), an isolated musical score (one of the best in recent memory!), a making-of featurette, theatrical trailers, and much more. A great film, great presentation, and great value make this an indispensable DVD.