Sunday, March 19, 2006

Movie Report: "The Libertine"

My wife was interested in seeing The Libertine because she is a Johnny Depp fan, so we went to see that movie this afternoon. There is apparently something about his dark, smoldering sensuality that makes women turn to putty. The movie starts out with Depp, playing John Wilmot, the Earl of Rochester, a 17th-century poet, talking directly into the camera, saying, "You are not going to like me." He was right; I did not like either Depp or the character he played.

That's about all I can say about the movie because I slept through most of it. The lighting in the movie is very dark; apparently in an attempt to portray the dark, muddy, England of the 17th century. The professional critics apparently view the darkness of the movie as a result of directorial genius. To me it just made it harder to follow what was going on in the shadows. Combined with English accents that I found hard to understand, at times, and a plot as murky as the lighting and the movie could not keep my interest.

As we were leaving, I commented that I have no idea what the movie is about because I was sleeping or fighting sleep so much of the time, and my wife responded that she was awake the whole time but she had a hard time following it, too. In general, I think the movie is about a libertine who gets his comeuppance by contracting syphilis and dying at the end. Although there were some seduction scenes, none were noteworthy, especially not in comparison to John Malkovich's seduction scenes in a similar movie, Dangerous Liaisons.

Malkovich appears as King Charles II in The Libertine, a role that wastes his enormous talent, in my opinion. Although Malkovich doesn't smolder anymore, if he ever did, I think that a much better movie would have resulted if he had been in the title role as the libertine.

I gave this movie one star out of five, although an argument could be made that it deserves at least a two for not being a teen-age movie, but standards must be upheld.


Patry Francis said...

I was a huge fan of early Johnny, but haven't liked his more recent stuff as much. Think I'll skip this one. Thanks!

PG said...

Wait till you see Claire Dolan (which I have reviewed on The Last Good Name).