The other night, my friend and I were having a falafel down by the beach, and your name came up, and I managed to convince him that you were worth a serious look. Having seen Fatal Attraction fairly recently, and not wanting to reopen the Eszterhas mess of Flashdance, we decided on Indecent Proposal.
I have to admit, I was nervous. I knew I was in safe territory with 9 ½ weeks and Lolita and Unfaithful, but all I could remember from Indecent Proposal was the air of Dawn Steel goofiness about it, the instant-camp quality that surrounded the movie when it came out almost twenty years ago. And after spending the full lunch defending you, extolling your knack for inserts, your sensitive handling of actresses, and your amazingly variant sex scenes, I didn’t want to roll the dice (as it were) on what I was sure would be an unwise gamble.
(Are you in France, btw?)
But I was wrong, Adrian. Really wrong. Indecent Proposal looks better now than it ever did. Parts of it are terrific.
Of course, there’s really no way you can surmount the problem of your material, which even you must admit is TV stuff. (“If you ever want something badly let it go. If it comes back to you, then it’s yours forever.”) There were certain moments when I could practically feel a tampon commercial coming on, moments when I understood why coming to your defense has been an uphill battle.
But can we get back to those sex scenes? Where your contemporaries went in for things like panting stomachs and sweaty brows and – dear God – pans up from a trail of discarded clothes, you draw in all of these wonderful little naturalistic details, and allow room for accidents (like when Woody Harrelson climbs on top of Demi and accidentally turns over a chair), and you never fall for stupid slow motion stuff, or gooey power ballads, or any of the other jive that screams PEOPLE DOING IT IN MOVIE.
You’re interested in your characters enjoying each other. I can’t remember, for instance, the last time I saw two grown-up lovers actually laugh in the middle of a fuck. But in Indecent Proposal you allow it to happen. That kind of observational insight draws us into them being drawn into each other and makes the whole ridiculous arrangement (“One night with your wife for a million dollars…”) seem real. Good move, Adrian. Good move.
Anyhow, we miss you over here.
P.S. Even if no one else is saying it, I just wanted to say I know you’re an auteur.