The Libertine

Director: Laurence Dunmore
Year Released: 2004
Rating: 1.0

Whoremonger and dirty mouth John Wilmot (played by Johnny Depp) works really hard to be as despicable as possible - even going so far as to stage a pornographic play for a displeased King Charles II (John Malkovich) - all before succumbing to his own excesses (he died at 33 like John Belushi). The movie tries to capture the 'rogue spirit' of Wilmot, but the bawdiness comes across as artificial, and every utterance of a curse word is laced with dramatic emphasis, as if there's a conscious effort to make it sound so very 'dirty' and 'forbidding' (let's not forget about the visual props, like a midget riding a penis chariot or handing out dildos to the audience ... how abhorrent!) - to add to the posturing, the film looks like it was shot with filters better suited for a horror film, turning the scenery and human faces into a revolting gray mess (aesthetically, it's reminiscent of von Trier ... although in this case, that's not a compliment). Quills, a film I liked a lot, turned de Sade up to 11; this picture's Wilmot is too mundane to smear the shit on the walls (or get his hands soiled).