Harold Pinter scripted Ian McEwan's novel for director Paul Schrader's adaptation. Everett and Richardson play a posh, bland couple, which makes their descent into the hands of evil oddly entertaining. This is a cool, languidly-paced film, but its cruelty makes it interesting. An exceedingly well-cast Walken appears in less than half of the film, but his sinister presence is felt throughout; as his wife, Mirren plays the most disturbing character, however.
The Venice locations lend an air of old world decadence to proceedings, and particularly to Walken and Mirren's sado-masochistic duo. How much you enjoy this film may depend on how soon you realise that not that much actually happens, but there's an inexorable menace to the atmosphere which holds it together. Music by Angelo Badalamenti. There is only one word for thighs, isn't there?