History of a Scoundrel
Release Date: June 08, 2012
Starring: Robert Pattinson, Christina
Ricci, Uma Thurman, Kristin
Scott-Thomas, Colm Meany,
Philip Glenister, Holliday
Runtime: 102 minutes
Distributor: Magnolia Pictures
Director: Declan Donnellan, Nick Ormerod
Executive Producer: Simon Fuller
Producer: Uberto Pasolini
Writer: Rachel Bennette
Address Comments To:Bill Banowski, CEO, Magnolia Pictures (Magnet Releasing)
1614 West 5th St.
Austin, TX 78703
Eamon Bowles, President, Magnolia Pictures (Magnet Releasing)
43 West 27th St., 7th Floor
New York, NY 10001
Phone: (212) 924-6701; Fax: (212) 924-6742
Website: www.magpictures.com; Email: info@ magpictures.com
Despite the high production values and several strong performances from top-notch actors, the movie suffers from an off-kilter performance by Robert Pattinson, the very popular romantic lead in the TWILIGHT movies. Pattinson has a few strong moments when he’s engaged in arguments with other characters, but too much of the time his leer is so obvious that it probably will turn off a lot of viewers, not just media-wise moviegoers. Too often, he and his character are merely observing and reacting to the behavior of those around them, rather than driving the story.
Duroy, the protagonist in BEL AMI, has almost no redeeming qualities (if any) as he attempts to seduce a trio of women who are each married and all know each other, then tries to keep it a surprise from each of them. Along the way, he parlays his seeming charms into winning prime writing jobs at Parisian newspapers, even though he allows one mistress to do the actual writing for him. Duroy gets fired after this deception is discovered. He then gets revenge by taking a job as a gossip columnist who seeks out the dirty secrets of his enemies. By the end, he’s become wealthy and slept his way to a lavish wedding with a new and beauteous bride, while still winking at his initial lover during his procession out of the church.
BEL AMI is based on the famous French writer Guy de Maupassant’s 1885 novel, which is subtitled THE HISTORY OF A SCOUNDREL, but it’s far from the genteel period movies many moviegoers see. It’s the corrupt tale of an insidious man who will stop at seemingly nothing to advance his position in life and society. While this story may have been intended as an allegory for modern times, it still leaves an unpleasant aftertaste with anyone hoping for some level of moral behavior. The movie contains very strong sexual content and the immoral protagonist never gets his well-deserved comeuppance, so MOVIEGUIDE® finds BEL AMI unacceptable.
Production values are high in BEL AMI, which features some strong performances. Too often, however, the protagonist is merely observing and reacting to the behavior of others. Also, the actor playing him is often too obvious. BEL AMI is about a corrupt, insidious man who’ll stop at almost nothing to advance his position in a corrupt society. It contains very strong lewd content. Also, the immoral protagonist never gets his well-deserved comeuppance. So, MOVIEGUIDE® finds BEL AMI unacceptable.