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Saturday, May 24, 2008

THE LIBERTINE (2006)

Adapted from Stephen Jeffrey’s play on the short, unhappy life of the eponymous John Wilmot, infamous pal of Edward II during the Restoration, and helmed w/ exhausting imagination by tyro megger Laurence Dunmore, this messy pic is not without interest. The idea is to explore the heart, mind & soul of a real Don Juan; his intellectual appeal, pan-sexuality, self-loathing/self-loving and his whirlwind flight toward decay & self-destruction that brought death at 33. There’s a historical, cultural, social essay in all this, but no great drama in this half-baked presentation. Johnny Depp sneers loftily, but starts his character too far down the road to ruination, while Samantha Morton ’s actress (Trilby to Wilmot’s Svengali) brings Method acting to the 1600s just as unconvincingly as Billy Crudup did in STAGE BEAUTY. (see below) As King Charles II, John Malkovich seems terrified that Depp may out creep him.
SCREWY THOUGHT OF THE DAY: Just how long can the new Weinstein Co continue their amazing run of commercially DOA releases?

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