A Closed Book (film)
|A Closed Book|
|Directed by||Raúl Ruiz|
|Produced by||Andrew Somper|
|Written by||Gilbert Adair|
|Editing by||Sean Barton
|Distributed by||Eyeline Entertainment|
|Running time||88 minutes|
A Closed Book is a 2010 British film based on the novel of the same name by Gilbert Adair, about a blind author who employs an assistant to help him write his novels. Throughout the film the assistant starts to play crueler and crueler tricks on her employer. The film is directed by Raúl Ruiz, and stars Daryl Hannah as assistant Jane Ryder, and Tom Conti as author Sir Paul. A Closed Book was filmed at Knebworth House in the UK.
The film starts with a character named Sir Paul (Tom Conti) who is looking for an amanuensis he goes through several unsuccessful candidates until Jane Ryder (Daryl Hannah) turns up and is intelligent and forthright. She is employed, and he explains about the house and introduces Mrs. Kilbride (Miriam Margoyles), the maid.
They have breakfast and go through their pet annoyance's with Sir Paul getting disproportionately angry about Jane saying "no problem". They start writing the book, and Sir Paul again gets very angry at Jane for not taking his instructions. Things run smoothly until Jane starts changing things ever so slightly like taking paintings out of their frames and turning them upside down. Sir Paul starts to suspect things when she sends Mrs. Kilbride home for a week without consulting him.
Sir Paul has a "terrific fear of the dark" and while singing in the bath he keeps thinking he hears noises, which are Jane making him scared. The noises he hears in the bath someone turning the light off, then Jane comes in naked and promises him that the light is on to reassure him. Her lying and sneaking becomes more and more important as she starts lying about Madonna dying and O.J. Simpson committing suicide and puts his books on the fire instead of lugs. Sir Paul starts becoming really suspicious when Mrs. Kilbride comes back to the house and finds a puzzle that Sir Paul asked Jane to get and it turns out to be the wrong puzzle and this particularly matters to Sir Paul as he wrote about the painting in his book and he gets very, very angry at her and starts to not trust her.
However, suspicions are assuaged when a Conservative MP comes to his house to persuade him to vote for the Conservatives and fear of Sir Paul she responds positively to all his questions and reads what Jane wrote in his book which fortunately for Jane was all accurate.
However, Jane goes in for the kill and one day leaves suits of armour on the floor and displaces desks where she knows that Sir Paul will walk into them and books so he may slip and fall down the stairs. She then comes into the house.
Eventually, Sir Paul realises that Jane has an intention of killing him and in a showdown in his bedroom with Jane she tells him that her husband who had had a gallery showing at a prestigious sight had been criticised severely by Sir Paul and due to the material of his paintings the artist was arrested and put on suspicion of being a pedophile. After comparing Sir Paul to a closed book, Jane shoves him in the closet. She then leaves the house with Sir Paul screaming. She returns to the house out of guilt and not having the stomach to kill someone. She returns to the house to find that Sir Paul has escaped, then after Sir Paul points a gun at her and reveals to her that he is also a pedophile, he invites her to shoot him but she leaves and he is forced to shoot himself.
- Tom Conti - Sir Paul
- Daryl Hannah - Jane Ryder
- Miriam Margoyles - Mrs. Kilbride
- Simon MacCorkindale - Andrew Boles
- Elaine Paige - Canvasser
- Ty Glaser - Jane's successor
Critical reception was overall poor, with a few exceptions. The Times gave it one (out of five) stars and called it an "atrocious, creepy little film". The Daily Telegraph gave it 2 out of 5 stars, stating, "A Closed Book feels less like a thriller than an aesthete’s tease". The Guardian also gave a poor review and only 2 out of 5 stars, describing it as "a silly story about a blind art critic". Perhaps the most scathing is a review from Time Out London which gave the film only 1 star, finding "Raul Ruiz's apologists have their work cut out for them."
Anthony Quinn of The Independent gave it 3 out of 5 stars stating that "its sheer unlikeliness is what also keeps you hanging in there." Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes shows an average of 3.8 out of 10 based on twelve reviews, but 67% among non-professional critics.
- "Events at Knebworth 2011" (PDF). Knebworth House. 9 February 2011. Retrieved 25 September 2011.
- Bremner, Charles; Robertson, David (19 February 2010). "A Closed Book (review)". Times Online (London).[dead link]
- Robey, Tim (18 February 2010). "A Closed Book, review". The Telegraph (London). Retrieved 25 September 2011.
- Xan Brooks (19 February 2010). "Film review: A Closed Book | Film". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 25 September 2011.
- Jenkins, David (18 February 2010). "A Closed Book Review". Timeout London. Retrieved 25 September 2011.
- Quinn, Anthony (19 February 2010). "A Closed Book - Reviews, Films". The Independent (London). Retrieved 25 September 2011.
- "A Closed Book". Rotten Tomatoes. 19 February 2010. Retrieved 25 September 2011.