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Highly recommended for raunchiness, innovative characters,  plot, attention to visual detail that conveys the period as dark,  lavishly dressed, wigged and  ill-washed.    The biograhpy of this poetic raunchy athiest provides the plot with twists, turns and endings more fabulous than stories concocted to please a mass audience.    The scope and detail of the script is worthy of its topic.   The language is used to good effect.   Every sentence is worthy of inclusion in the film, no redundancy.   I laughed,   I cried,   I winced, I disliked characters, I wanted to befriend characters,   I admired characters,   I was reviled by characters.   This film was a fulfilling experience for me.   The production credits the audience with intelligence

🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂    

ratings explained

The film opens with a young adult  John Wilmott (Jonny Depp),   Second Earl of Rochester, making a self descriptive prologue directly to us, the viewers, in a classical stage play  style.   He sneers as he knowing  describes himself,  his knowledge of how we will experience him.  Willmot is wonderfully objectionable, spiteful even,  with the engaging cleverness worthy of  a witty poet and playwrite.   He is spikely cynical throughout:

the moral of the incident is that any  experiment of interest in life  will be carried out  at your own expense,   mark it well

“all men would be cowards if the only had the courage

The film is birightly bawdy.   It sprays a wealthy variety of recognisable,   yet obscure words,  that mechanistically describe sexual acts.   The context and delivery of obscure phrase’s makes meaning clear,   for example a phrase delivered by a prostitute/actress describing copulation with a wife:

shooting good chisum up the lawful

Sad cynicism pervades the film, life is conveyed as tough and yet the lyrical words thrown in pain are beautiful,   bring poignancy to the struggles of the players.   Sepia tones,   mud, smoke, puss, music played on period instruments,  dark lighting  rich language  and costumes sink us deeply in the period.    The tone and pace of the dialogue moves like a symphony.  

Examples of bawdy cycnicism expressed by the female characters:

I believe that men are hurdles that must be negotiated…     …you could buy my slit for a pound a night sir…” (Elizabeth Barry played by Samantha Morton)

when a gent sees the spirit and not the eyes and the tits,   then the gent is in trouble… …don’t make me care for you, I’d rather you came your fetch over my face than leave me with that lump of caring” (Prostitute/Actress)

The temporary relief from cynicism and life is through plays, acting,  Drama.    Dreams.  The relationship between John Wilmott and his prodigy actress, Elizabeth Barry, hints at a deeper more profound, mutually beneficial relationship.   The relationship between John and  King Charles II (John Malkovich) is similarly more profound.   No single quote captures the subtlety and power of these threads of hope and optimism, each peaking at a different point in the film,   beautifully balanced.   John Malkovich’s is exceedingly  well cast, delivering few and powerful lines with quiet gravitas.  

The film ends with an  epilogue that invites the audience to take a slightly new slant on  all that they’ve seen.   It asks a question,   I wonder what your answer will be.    My answer was   ‘no more or no less’

Excellent production.

rate wendys scribble

one wonderful muse on “Libertine”

  1. Joanne writes:

    Not seen the film yet (don’t get out much) it’s about to come on Sky. Looking forward to it immensely, as my Auntie Olive’s lovely neighbour Brian is in it. He’s an actor (obviously), and apparantly has a scene with the gorgeous Johnny. He said he was a really nice bloke. So there you go.



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