Debauchery Leads to Destruction
Starring: Johnny Depp, Samantha Morton,
John Malkovich, and Rosamund
Runtime: 114 minutes
Distributor: The Weinstein Company
Director: Laurence Dunmore
Executive Producer: Chaise Baley, Steve Christian
and Louise Goodsill
Producer: Lianne Halfon, John Malkovich
and Russell Smith
Writer: Steven Jeffreys
Address Comments To:Bob and Harvey Weinstein
The Weinstein Company
345 Hudson Street, 13th Floor
New York, NY 10014
Phone: (646) 862-3400
Fax: (917) 368-7000
In the opening monologue, Wilmot proclaims to the camera, “Allow me to be frank. You will not like me.” After monologuing for the next several minutes of how much he likes wine, women and how he’s ready for sex at any moment, he again says to the camera, “You will not like me. I don’t want you to like me.”
Congratulations, Mr. Wilmot, you got what you wanted: we don’t like you.
The story is unimportant. The movie simply follows this character as he drinks and debauches his way to an early grave. Somewhere in the middle of it, he falls in love with an actress, helps her to become the most-famous actress in all of London, destroys his relationship with his wife, destroys his relationship with his friends, commits treason against the King of England, retreats into exile, comes back from exile, changes a vote in the House of Lords, and loses the actress he so desperately wanted.
By the time the sexual diseases and alcoholism take hold of his body, cause his nose to fall off and make him unable to walk on his own, audience members will want to have left the theater long ago.
There is one aspect of production quality that is good and should be noted. Screenwriter Steven Jeffreys’ dialogue is superb. He masterfully captures the heightened language of that period in history. However, it is regrettable that such wonderful dialogue had to be wasted on such base subject matter. Although the dialogue is deftly handled, the script’s action and story-telling devices are clumsy and not nearly at the same level of craftsmanship.
The actors also give some wonderful performances. Johnny Depp’s performance is good but at times is a little reminiscent of Captain Jack Sparrow from PIRATES OF THE CARRIBBEAN. John Malkovich delivers a solid performance as King Charles II. As the actress/lover of Depp’s character, Samantha Morton steals the scene every time she is on screen.
Except for those few qualities, this movie is abhorrent. Most moviegoers, not just moral viewers and Christians, will want to avoid THE LIBERTINE at all costs. With way too much sexuality and way too much debauchery of every kind, this movie is an offensive look at the life of a pitiful man.
Trust us. You won’t like this man, but, then again, he doesn’t want you to like him.
The dialogue for THE LIBERTINE is superb, but the storytelling devices are clumsy and not nearly at the same level of craftsmanship. The actors give wonderful performances. Except for those few qualities, however, this movie is abhorrent. It contains extreme sexual content and nudity, as well as some strong language, alcoholism and debauchery of every kind. Most moviegoers will not like this character, but, then again, he doesn’t want you to like him.