March 14, 2006

Willy Wonka and the Pornographic Lampoon of Charles II

The Libertine
(Laurence Dunmore, 2004) **1/2

Yet another film that founders on Aristotle's truism that no one's life is a story. This is even more pointless than most, since, based on this film, the accomplishments of John Wilmot, second Earl of Rochester, were

1. Taught Elizabeth Barry (who? exactly) how to act.
2. Wrote a pornographic play.
3. Died horribly from syphilis.

As a character, Wilmot is of even less interest, since he always chooses that which leads to his self-destruction. Other characters praise him as a great wit and poet, but for the former, there is no evidence, and for the latter, he is, at best, middling. Johnny Depp fills this shell, as best he can, with bits from Hunter S. Thompson, Jack Sparrow, and Willy Wonka. One thing this film gets right is that the past was unbelievably dirty with everyone and everything covered with soot, mud, and filth.


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