8:00 PM, 25th August, 2006
The Libertine opens with John Wilmot (Depp), a.k.a. the Second Earl of Rochester, or Johnny to his friends, stating, "You will not like me. The gentlemen will be envious and the ladies will be repelled". I cant speak for the gentlemen out there but he was certainly correct about this lady. This says a lot for Depp's acting prowess[H2]; how can you not like Johnny? The movie takes Rochester through the last few years of his life in the late 1670s, concentrating on his stormy relationships with his fiercely proud actress-mistress Elizabeth Barry (Morton) and his initially indulgent but eventually enraged monarch Charles II (Malkovich in a prosthetic nose). Rochester's fall seems accomplished primarily with a single play: the royally commissioned performance of what becomes a sex-crazed epic, a deliberately provocative satiric slam at the king, complete with giant phalluses on stage. The penis cannon is not to be missed!For a film about a debaucherous character, there is surprisingly little debauchery in this film. Whether he's spewing dirty inspired monologues or trading in nasty banter, Depp is the main reason to watch The Libertine. You will not like the Second Earl of Rochester. But you will not be able to take your eyes from him.
10:54 PM, 25th August, 2006
Excess, decadence, hedonism, self-love and narcissism are the essential ingredients in this Fellini dish (whether tasty or not is a matter of preference). And theres lots of male nudity. Enough said. Boom boom! No, seriously, Satyricon is engaging for a number of reasons: Fellini takes a negligible story about two hapless students slumming it in Ancient Rome and transcends this premise to spin instead a chaotic tale of retribution and redemption, duplicitous alliances, bemusing encounters, sinister visits, aimless but pleasant wanderings, gluttonous feasts, bungled kidnappings, mischievous adventure, the truth about beauty, the humour in freakishness and if I haven't mentioned it before, male nudity. Yes, brothels populated with hideously obese women feature, as do dwarves, midgets, orgies, priestesses with strange inclinations, hermaphrodites - and so forth and so on, rampantly and seemingly unstoppably and with a lot of glee. Yes, it is grotesque and may be considered distasteful in parts, but I personally think it serves as an allegory to the ultimate emptiness of a life lived without any real feeling. Or maybe it's really just about naked men. An epic trip through a marvellous (or at least different) imagination.