Thursday, November 23, 2006

The Libertine

The Libertine

Johnny Depp

Date: 2006-07-04 — DVD / VHS

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Review of The Libertine

At long last, I finally got around to seeing Johnny Depp's, The Libertine, which covers the last few years of 17th century John Wilmot, The Earl of Rochester's life. Wilmot, who was a poet and playwright, was also a jaded libertine, regularly engaging in various forms of debauchery. The movie focuses on his relationship with King Charles II and that of a mistress, whom he molds into a competent actress. The latter portion of the movie shows his decline and eventual death, horribly disfigured from syphilis. In a bit of irony, the mistress, whose career he enabled, turned her back on him during his decline, but his long-suffering wife, whom he treated with disdain at best, cares for him until the bitter end.

The movie was filmed entirely in sepia tones, which sets the mood for this essentially dreary and depressing movie. The typical filth of cities in the 17th century is shown clearly, with mud and rats abounding everywhere.

I had to pay attention closely to understand the antiquated English of the 17th century in certain scenes; my interest in history paid off there. The movie was choppy, a few scenes making me wonder why he was doing certain things. The sex scenes were blurry, in one instance, literally shrouded in mist, and were not particularly arousing. The movie had an incomplete feel to it; there was a lot of detail missing from this movie that would have made it flow better.

Depp, however, shines in this movie, who deftly plays Wilmot as an unlikable, yet completely fascinating man. Depp's Earl of Rochester is a bit of an over the top character, similar to his portrayal of Jack Sparrow.

This movie will not appeal to a wide audience; it will be appreciated mainly by historical movie aficionados.

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