I came to this film seeing that it had a terrible rating on rottentomatoes and some mixed reviews generally . I have to also confess to hating Twilight.
But, but. I have read the book a number of years ago and thoroughly recommend it. It is a story of nasty people using other people to get what they want. If you don't think this is relevant to your own life then open your eyes and look around you. Or look in the mirror. The author, Guy de Maupassant, by all accounts does not seem to have been a terribly nice fellow himself and I believe (I'll need to check later) died of syphilis. The importance of the novel is the questions that it poses, essentially all the big ones: is there another life or is this it? What would you do to advance your own position in life? How do you treat people depending on your perception of their use to you? How much energy do you spend in exacting petty revenge for wrongs done to you? Do you fear death? These are big questions, and they are questions wrapped up within the story of a vain, self-pitying, ruthless, talentless 19th century Parisian toyboy and his manipulation of women and, their manipulation of him. Read the book. In particular, the description of the death of Charles Forrestier is one of the most terrifying descriptions of dying and death I have ever read.
So, the important thing is, given that the filmakers have set themselves the task of interpreting the book, does it succeed?
Emphatically , yes. I was very impressed by Robert Pattinson (and I hate Twilight) who succeeds brilliantly in conveying the emptiness, inadequacy and rage of the central character, who loathes himself, and the women he seduces, in equal measure. Think "what does it profit a man to gain the world and lose his own soul", and you've got the general point. The supporting cast were all equally impressive.