WHAT I LIKED: The best way to describe Adrian Lyne and James Dearden's 'Fatal Attraction,' is that it's a pantomime for the big screen. What does that mean? Well, just like in a panto, in this film we're almost always a small step ahead of what the central character (Michael Douglas' Dan in this case) is about to experience, because every shot, line of dialogue or audio choice serves as a brilliantly clever, suggestive wink at the audience well in advance.
There are watching angles that show people stalking him, amusing edits that foreshadow coming events, out of context music and sound effects which throw things brilliantly into suspicion, and an ingenious panto-villain performance from Glenn Close who we deliberately recognise as unhinged from the moment Dan begins his short affair with her.
What's so great about all of that though is that the teasing is done visually, so crucially those techniques only foreshadow within scenes and never expose the whole narrative and you always remain on the edge of your seat. That gives the effect of a film that enjoys playing its cards close to its chest and revealing the next just before it's placed, and when Dan's realisation kicks in afterwards, it's always highly amusing. He's the victim constantly playing catch-up, and because we're always given that slight upper hand, we actually enjoy pitying him (something which is also enabled of course by a brilliantly oblivious, out-of-depth performance from Douglas).
Couple that with the great central idea of this affair with a psycho woman coming and stabbing said man in the back and you've got yourself a thriller that's quite unusual. It's gleefully fun, but it also keeps you thoroughly on the edge of your chair throughout, and that's a rather impressive achievement when you think about it.
WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE: It's hardly some profound thematic masterpiece, but for sheer cinematic entertainment, it doesn't get much better than this.
VERDICT: A pantomime thriller that uses every tool at its disposal to tease what's coming next without ever fully revealing its hand, 'Fatal Attraction,' is brilliantly fun and heart racing at the same time, and that's quite an impressive achievement.