This is a movie that will make ears burn from the causticity of the words spilling from its characters’ screwed up mouths. Director Mike Nichols (The Graduate
) is no stranger to controversy, and he’s created one of the uglier films about the nature of bad, bad relationships. The characters’ behavior will leave many feeling their worst relationship pales in comparison to the disasters taking place on the screen. Julia Roberts, Jude Law, Natalie Portman and especially Clive Owen all deliver great performances in what is essentially a meditation on deception, infidelity and stripping. Owen plays one of the more miserable characters to grace, or disgrace, screens this year. Sweet and sensitive in one instant, intensely cruel the next, this is Owen’s best screen work to date. It might garner him some nice year-end notices.