The Comfort of Strangers features Rupert Everett and Natasha Richardson as English lovers on vacation in Venice, a city they visited four years earlier. He's a handsome and coldly aloof writer and she's a divorced mother of two. They fall under the spell of Robert (Christopher Walken), an English-speaking Venetian who takes them to his luxurious apartment where they meet his enigmatic wife (Helen Mirren). The theme of sexual obsession and gender disorders is perfectly attuned to director Paul Schrader's other explorations of the subject in American Gigolo, Cat People and Mishima. This macabre psychological drama blends text, texture, and milieu in an artful unity.