He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not. ; FILM CHOICE ++ Enduring Love Monday, 9pm FILM4

Article excerpt

Anyone who's seen the film Some Voices, in which Daniel Craig plays a man struggling with hallucinations, will know how impressively he can play psychotic. That's precisely what the makers of Enduring Love had in mind when they cast him as the film's protagonist, Joe, an academic and advocate of rational behaviour who slowly turns more and more irrational as the film proceeds. He comes across as at least as crazy as his nemesis, obsessional stalker Jed (Rhys Ifans). In fact, the two actors could probably swap roles, and you wouldn't really notice.

Enduring Love (2004), based on the novel by Ian McEwan and directed by Roger Notting Hill Michell, received very mixed reviews. Some critics thought it was a travesty of the book: some even thought it was better. I haven't read it, but I'm sure that it could hardly have survived the transition to the big screen without losing psychological subtleties, and it is true, that the film does veer at the end towards your bog-standard hammy stalker thriller a la Fatal Attraction. Even so, I suspect it's been underrated. If you forget about the tag "thriller", with which it's been lumbered, and think of it instead simply as a drama, it's really rather absorbing.

Enduring Love begins, famously, with a dreadful accident witnessed by Joe and his sculptor girlfriend Clare (the excellent Samantha Morton) while they're out picnicking in the country. Joe and three other men attempt to rescue a child from a hot-air balloon which is dragging along the ground; when the balloon lifts into the air, one of the men is killed. …