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Monday, September 3, 2012

Bel Ami by Declan Donnellan, Nick Ormerod, 2012 (R)

with Robert Pattinson (Twilight), Uma Thurman (Kill Bill), Kristin Scott Thomas (The English Patient, Salmon Fishing in the Yemen, Partir), Christina Ricci, Colm Meaney, Philip Glenister, Holliday Grainger (The Borgias)

Armed with good looks and devastating charm, manipulative journalist Georges Duroy (Robert Pattinson) climbs from the depths of poverty to the height of Parisian society, taking up with a variety of beautiful women along the way. Declan Donnellan and Nick Ormerod direct this erotically charged period drama based on the classic novel by French writer Guy de Maupassant. Uma Thurman, Christina Ricci and Kristin Scott Thomas co-star.

I vaguely remember Maupassant's book, from reading in at 13, not probably getting any of the nuances, and confusing in with "Au Bonheur des Dames" of Zola which interestingly happens in the same period and in the same neighborhood. Anyway, I didn't sense the political game, the bitterness of a society, the power women had and at the same time didn't, the manipulations of Georges and by Georges, into climbing the social ladder. The movie is dark, filthy of desire that power attract, giving a vision of french 19th century a disgusting feeling, despicable game that one plays over the other, in the only aim that is possession, erasing the innocence with everything money touches. The acting is good, Uma Thurman is actually really convincing as a women ahead of her time, Kristin Scott Thomas is unbelievably unbearable as a submissive lover (she always has these roles where she is in control, attractive, totally the opposite here!). I wouldn't say a masterpiece, but an interesting reading of what could actually be thought as a contemporary story, not so different from nowadays after all...

Watch Trailer:


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