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The Libertine

Poorly lit adaptation of Stephen Jeffrey's well-received play about the depraved adventures (circa 1678) of the real life second Earl of Rochester, John Wilmot, is a tedious experience made worse by coarse editing that leaves the story's most interesting subplot on the cutting room floor. Wilmot (Johnny Depp) verbally seduces the viewer with a confrontational opening monologue promising that you "will not like" him as he is "always up for it" with either man or woman. However, the meandering scenes that follow fail to live up to the film's promise of unbridled debauchery. King Charles (John Malkovich) requisitions Wilmot to write a play celebrating his noble reign while Wilmot remains preoccupied with an asexual affiliation with his protégé actress Elizabeth Barry (Samantha Morton). Special features include a commentary track by Laurence Dunmore, eight deleted scenes with optional director's commentary, a making-of featurette and the film's theatrical trailer. Aspect ratio is 2.35:1, with sound quality processed in Dolby Digital 5.1. (Movie - One Star, DVD features - Two Stars) Rated R, 114 mins. (Weinstein Company)

July 2, 2006 in Historical Drama | Permalink