In the big box-office months of December and January, Mike Nichols's Closer was overwhelmed by the likes of The Aviator and Million Dollar Baby. Now comes a second chance to catch this boiling pot of lust, mistrust and double-dealing, adapted from a play by talented Brit misanthrope Patrick Marber. It stars Jude Law, gorgeous Natalie Portman, Clive Owen and a suprisingly effective Julia Roberts as four well-heeled London desperadoes who constantly switch beds and shift loyalties in the process of tearing each others' psyches apart. But the film's soap-opera elements (and, yes, its soft-core-porn elements) are elevated by the vicious dazzle of the dialogue -- which includes a lewd, barking quarrel about fellatio that's already on the books as a classic. Meanwhile, Nichols's direction proves faultless. He is, after all, the guy who gave us Carnal Knowledge and Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, and under his guidance, this relentless sexual brawl attains the kind of bruising authenticity most movies cannot dream of.
Closer screens Monday, March 28, as part of the University of Colorado International Film Series. Showings are at 7 and 9:15 p.m. in Muenzinger Auditorium on CU's Boulder campus. For information, call 303-492-1531.