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The Battle of the Sexes
Dangerous Liaisons (DVD)
Member Name: pjs21
Dangerous Liaisons (DVD)
Date: 09/02/01, updated on 09/02/01 (78 review reads)
Advantages: How long have you got?
Disadvantages: Keanu Reeves
I have watched this film so many times over the years, on my own and with friends and I never get bored of it. Every time I see it I spot something I hadn’t noticed before.
Adapted from Christopher Hampton’s stage play by the playwright himself, which in turn was adapted from the book Les Liaisons Dangereuses by Choderlos de Lacios, director Stephen Frears directs with beautiful style and skill.
Set amongst the 1780 French aristocrats in their large frocks and frilly shirts, it is the characters of John Malkovich and Glenn Close who steal the majority of the screen time. For they are the pivotal characters from which a nasty web of deceit is spun.
La Marquise de Merteuil (Close) and Le Vicomte de Valmont, past lovers, play dangerous games with each other – in order for him to sleep with her again he must get the woman he has set his mind on and give her written proof that he has had his way – only then will she give him his reward.
And so he sets out to succeed.
This is just the beginning of what turns out to be the biggest story of hate, cruelty, love, revenge, decadence, desire and out and out personal war.
John Malkovich really came to light in this 1988 film – and rightly so. As the Vicomte he comes across as one of the sexiest, most loveable and cheeky, nasty pieces of work you could ever hope to meet.
It is however Glenn Close’s finest moment, (in my opinion). The writing of is superb and Close makes the most of every word that is muttered, spoken or screamed out of her mouth. Their has never been such a believable nasty evil female character in modern cinema as this. Even when she is destroyed you can still feel nothing for hate for this loathsome woman.
The rest of the cast also deserve full credit (apart from one which I will get to!). Michelle Pfeiffer as Madame Tourvel, the target of the Vicomte’s attention, is superb. Her actin
g is incredibly fine and it was this performance that I remember whenever I see her do something which maybe isn’t that good. It’s nice to know that she does have talent. Uma Thurman as Cecile Volanges also gives a nicely understated performance.
But there are many others who help to make this film one of the best of its genre.
My only problem with this film – and it’s not enough to ruin it – is Keanu Reeves. Why oh why did they think of casting him as the young lover. Thankfully he’s not in it enough to do too much damage, but it seems so odd to see him swaying around in his frock coat. He looks so uncomfortable and you can tell that he’s dying to say “Dude” whenever he does open his mouth.
The film is faithful to the stage adaptation, and I believe that this is very close to the original story. All involved are genius! This is one of the best films of the last twenty years and it deserves to be watched time and time again. There is so much to it. The whole opening sequence of the man behind the mask and you know already that deception is one of the key elements to this film.
Watch it, enjoy it, put it away and then a few months later watch it for a 2nd time. You'll never be dissapointed.