In this period piece Johnny Depp plays artistic wit and literary graphic poet/philosopher John Wilmot, second Earl of Rochester circa 1650. I like Depp and his more daring and eclectic selections of roles - he found some time between Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Pirates of the Caribbean to portray this raunchy, excessive wunderkind. Director Laurence Dunmore exposes Wilmot as a typically tragic figure - destroying every aspect of his life - friends, family and potential talent are left by the wayside for a life of decadence. There is some humor squeezed into the story as Charles II (John Malkovich) is portrayed in one of Wilmont's lays as a giant marital aid. I think the cast is good, but something didn't gel in the manner it was intended methinks. If you are a fan of historically obscure bio-pics of this ilk you may get more out of the natural lighting and handheld camera than I did. Performances are quite engaging and they can tend to carry much of the film.
Theatrical Release: September 16th, 2004 - Toronto Film Festival
DVD Review: Genius Products Inc. - Region 1 - NTSC
|DVD Box Cover||
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|Distribution||Genius Products Inc.- Region 1 - NTSC|
Average Bitrate: 5.80 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s
NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.
|Audio||English (Dolby Digital 5.1)|
|Subtitles||English, Spanish, None|
by director Laurence Dunmore
NOTE: I saw this movie in a cinema, and although everything looked realistically dirty I can recall that those very same scenes looked quite colorful, and sometimes warm. Lots of yellow and orange whenever candle-or torchlight was involved, and the final screenshot with the fake nose is taken from a well-lit scene (at parliament, I believe?), where a lot more colors were on show than just green, grey-green and grey. (Thanks Ard!)
I suspect that this transfer is a fairly reasonable representation of how this film looked theatrically. No artificial lighting (that I could detect) hence making most scenes very dark. The hand-held camera jiggles a bit leaving certain end-cuts out of focus. Colors and detail look akin to the captures below and there is a soft greenish haze over some the the scenes. The subtitles are good and the, largely untested, 5.1 track is consistent with dialogue being very clear.
Dunmore's commentary is quite dry - he expands on many details of the film especially the performances and what they were trying to subtly achieve. I saw nothing striking in the 15 minutes of deleted scenes but it was interesting to note what was left on the cutting room floor. Overall I was a little blasť about this film and DVD. Its release date gives it little competition but it may be a film that strikes stronger cords with others than it did with me. Depp's artistic appeal still holds for me, ditto for Malkovich, but the film kind of left me shrugging my shoulders. perhaps you will see more in than I.