The Libertine (2004)

The LibertineKOL Rating: crown crown

Big Johnny Depp and John Malkovich fan. When this movie came out, I was supposed to go see it with Jap ‘N’ Bay, but that was probably one of the five times in a row she flaked out on me.

As the celebrated writer and bad boy John Wilmot, Second Earl of Rochester, Depp brings to life a decadent 17th century London. There, Wilmot falls passionately in love with his aspiring actress muse, but is cast from the heights of privileged society when he scandalizes King Charles II with a shockingly audacious play. At the depths of ruin, the rebel seeks redemption on his own terms.


open quotation mark And wit was his vain frivolous pretense of pleasing others at his own expense. close quotation mark

It took a minute for me to get involved, but then it hit me. I have played in that neighborhood. I never know when I’m in the neighborhood or how I got there. This movie painted an awfully accurate portrayal of that neighborhood. What is the neighborhood? In KOL terms I call it being evil, perhaps self-loathing, though I am may be guilty of misidentifying my feelings. Perhaps that quote answers the question.

I found it hard to keep track of relations, but in the end it really did not matter for the times the movie portrays. There is one character, Alcock, that I found amusing at first. At about the time that Alcock became the subject of some counterpart replies, this movie took a complete nosedive. The movie does rebound, but sadly and logically, to not as high a point as it had started.

Filming after the turning point also went into the crapper. In a scene which involved candle flames flickering the reflection on the wall and curtain looked way fake. Secondly and just as bad was the oratory scene, which was not fluid and unfocused. I am not sure where to stand on makeup. In his post-syphilis stages, Deep looked like a zombie from the Mad, Mad Monster Party, though an entire transformation of his previous persona was done quite well.

Is it ironic or odd that like Front Row Center The Man from Elysian Fields, The Libertine was also sexually oriented and involved a main character that was literary by occupation?

This entry was posted in Front Row Center and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.