"Closer" is a story on how the lives of 4 people intersecting in the oddest ways to produce heartache and lust in the various straight pairings that occurs between them all. The backdrop of the setting being London never quite overshadows the core of the story, but adds a bit of flavor (and thankfully doesn't dredge up any memories of Notting Hill). The screenplay was very tight, always moving forward, almost at too quick a pace, the dialogue was as sharp as it needed to be to propel the plot along briskly. Mike Nichols does a good job directing not only the material, but the actors as well. He's on quite a roll this year (the other good effort for him being "Angels in America" on HBO). The performances by the 4 principal actors (Natalie Portman, Jude Law, Julia Roberts, and Clive Owens) were all up to the task of the material, but I think I'd give the edge to Clive Owen in the acting category for this film over his cohorts, he is what his character is, with not much "star" baggage and, boy, does he live up to the "all's fair in love and war" motto. Yes, for fans of Natalie, this film represents a departure from her earlier work, with a more brazen adult role in terms of occupation (stripper) while still holding on to an emotionally immature outlook on love and life that fits with her character's age. Julia Roberts didn't annoy me as much, though her character is internally and emotionally messy. Jude Law's charm helps glide his character through the film, but his self-destructive romantic side gets the better of him all throughout the film. Anyhow, a good flick that is hard to look away from because it is like a shark, always moving forward, damn the consequences. I give it 3.5 stars, or a grade of B+.