The Libertine |
Entertainment in Video, DVD, 08 May, 2006
Director: Laurence Dunmore
Actors: Johnny Depp, John Malkovich
Features: Anamorphic, PAL
List Price: £19.99
New Price: £5.98
Used Price: £3.00
Third Party Price: £4.86
Availability: Usually dispatched within 24 hours
Waste of talent - by both Johnnys
Watching this confirmed for me that in most cases I can judge a film by its trailers. In spite of misgivings I was persuaded to see this by a friend who has watched it at least twice.
Surely this film is that wonderful thing, a Hollywood "vehicle" for Johnny Depp as John Wilmot, second Earl of Rochester. He is in every frame and looks his usual gorgeous self until ravaged and dying of unmentionable diseases at an early age. Acting drunk most of the time unfortunately leads to regrettable comparisons with Johnny Depp playing Captain Jack Sparrow. John Malkovich has an alarmingly long false nose which I kept expecting to drop off; and Samantha Morton acts badly as an actress acting badly.
William Hazlitt judged that "his contempt for everything that others respect almost amounts to sublimity"; so when John Wilmot asks us at the end of the film if we like him, the answer has to be a resounding "no, sorry, and not the depressing film either; but what the hell did you expect?"
Yes I like you!
The film had me hooked from start to finish. I laughed in the beginning and I sobbed at the end. Wonderfully thought provoking, I was enthralled with Depp's performance. One of those truly epic films; see this film and it will teach you some hard and harsh lessons that will stay with you till the end of your days. And that redemption is always possible...
Allow me to be frank ...
"Allow me to be frank at the commencement" says a wonderfully plummy english voice as the film opens ... and frank it certainly is! Not one to watch with young kids around (no matter how "mature" you think they are) and certainly a film with which to keep an open mind.
As the gorgeous voice carries on, you are both suprised by the extreme frankness of the monologue and the fact dawning upon you that the actor speaking these words is american. Mr Depp has you enthralled.
If you have waded through previous reviews, then you will have got the gist of the story (17th century rich boy's downfall through sex, drugs and wild living). I just wanted to add my small voice to the many who say this is a must-see film. If you have a hang-up on american actors playing englishmen, put them to one side. The casting is superb; the use of natural or candlelight to shoot it inspired; and Michael Nyman's soundtrack sublime. This is the best feast for eyes and ears that I have experienced for a very, very long time.