from Film Forum, 12/13/01
In the arthouses on the other side of town, a couple of low-profile flicks are getting some impressive mainstream responses and some bad press from the religious media.
The Business of Strangersstars Stockard Channing as a corporate exec who, when she gets a significant promotion, decides to use the opportunity to work out some serious revenge.
Jerry Langford (Movieguide) says the story "exposes the trappings of anger repression and seriously questions the wisdom of vengeance." And it "really shows us that the view from the top may not be as beneficial as the ability to view the heart. … Further, it shows the excesses of human nature when mixed with boredom and a lack of accountability." He calls it "a clever and dark thriller with many layers of powerful messages." But in spite of these admirable characteristics, he concludes, "it has too many excesses to be worthwhile."
Mainstream critics describe it as a powerful—if bleak—portrait of modern despair. At The New York Times, Stephen Holden writes, "With an intensity that few movies have mustered, Strangers makes you feel the acute loneliness of it all, the empty pit-of- your-stomach feeling of being lost on the road in a world of masks with only your own ambition and gnawing paranoia for companionship."