Dorian Grey

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"Let's raise a little hell "

Sept 21st, 2009

If I had the chance to live forever and remain eternally youthful id more than likely take it. On the other hand if I was told I could live forever but the only movie I could ever watch again would be Dorian Gray I would run the other way.

I never liked the tale of Dorian Gray I always found it rather bland just like the recent adaptation. Dorian commissions a painting of himself to find that it ages and carries disease in his place. That's all well and good but I want to know why it's happening. Sometimes in film its best to leave things to the imagination this is not one of those times. If he made a pact with the devil or some supernatural force mores the better or even at least a hint that he desired to remain young and disease free but no, things just happen. I know many will cite that this as faithful to the book but when the rest of the movie swerves from the original storyline why not add a little depth where needed.

The trailers did little to entice me in but as the film was playing at the cinema where I work I gave it a look. Rated 15 I assumed it garnered its certificate from copious amounts of sexual content yet the opening scene promised graphic violence. No such luck, rewinding a year we witness Dorian's descent into debauchery which is far less fun then it sounds. I actually felt that I was living that year in the screen.

In one scene Colin Firth's character Lord Henry Wotton introduces Dorian to the seedy side of London life skipping forward any natural progression in Dorian's slide into the dark side:
Lord Henry Wotton: You should sleep with prostitutes
Dorian Grey: OK Mr.Darcey sounds great
And that's essentially it! A year later and Dorian is working on his killing spree of… 1 person, oh my how evil.

The look of the film is a little too polished and clean for the Victorian period. I always imagined that time to be more of a shit hole. The acting is fine, everyone does the best they can with the dialogue. Ben Barnes is exceptional as Dorian and its great to watch him on screen no matter how drab or implausible. Colin Firth is… well Colin Firth. Who expects anything more?

The sexual content is tame even though it feels the aim was too shock. At one point Dorian engages in some homosexual activity which plays as a turning point for the character. This may have been shocking for that period but for the viewer in our day and age it means nothing and by cutting swiftly to black before anything happens is hardly controversial, I'm sure most viewers have seen more on TV such as Queer as Folk and Doctor Who.

The film hints at subjects that I would much rather see, Dorian travels the globe to find himself, only we don't go with him and upon returning to London finds himself a changed man, why? Then I was led to believe that Dorian was immortal as a cut heals rapidly, yet he fears for his life when threatened at gunpoint, why? Why do I have to keep asking why?

Certain films fit the category of so bad the/re good this is not one of those times. The movie is a shambles, the dialogue is terrible, the story uninteresting. But did anyone expect more from the director of the St. Trinians remake. Avoid like the plague 2/10.

Director: Oliver Parker
Screenplay: Toby Finlay
Released: 2009
Rating: 15
Staring: Ben Barnes, Colin Firth, Rachel Hurd-Wood, Rebecca Hall

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