The End Of The Affair Neil Jordan
Published Feb 01, 2000With The End Of The Affair, director Neil Jordan (The Crying Game, In Dreams) has crafted a slow and careful study of faith and jealousy in human relationships. The film, set in post-WWII London, focuses on the aftermath of an adulterous affair between a married woman, Sarah Miles (Julianne Moore) and a brooding writer, Maurice Bendrix (Ralph Fiennes). Consumed by jealousy even two years after the affair's abrupt end, Maurice hires a private detective to discover who has replaced him in Sarah's affections. The timeframe switches seamlessly between Maurice's obsessive quest and his memories of the wartime affair that lead up to its untimely end. Julianne Moore is excellent as Sarah, making palpable her struggle between her passionate desire and her knowledge of duty and morality. However, Ralph Fiennes' Maurice, who serves as the film's narrator, rarely gets beyond one level of emotion, characterised by the brooding, pained look that lingers on his face for almost the entire film. An unusually restrained Stephen Rea is subtly moving as Sarah's husband Henry, who drives his wife away by preferring habit to passion. Ian Hart's earnest yet bumbling private detective brings some nice levity to the film. The screenplay, adapted by Jordan based on the largely autobiographical novel by Graham Greene, is well-written and clever, with a subtle sense of humour. It succeeds in exposing the inherent self-centredness of all relationships, while also tackling larger issues of religious morality and temptation. Jordan weaves this intricate story of deceit and betrayal in a restrained and distant way, lulling the viewer into deliberating the events and their consequences.