De Sade smuggles manuscripts out of Charenton with help from Madeleine (Kate Winslet), a virginal laundress who relishes de Sade's scandalous prose--a divine irony since she was taught to read by asylum abbé Coulmier (Joaquin Phoenix), whose desire for Madeleine is suppressed by Catholic propriety. The delicate dynamic of this trio is shattered by the arrival of Royer-Collard (Michael Caine, appearing somewhat comatose), a righteous hypocrite appointed to silence de Sade once and for all. It's all very engrossing as a piece of theatre (which it still is, despite Kaufman's elegant filming), and although Wright's literate dialogue limits de Sade to zesty ripostes and sneering perversity, Rush's intensity ensures that the marquis's plight is no laughing matter. Quills has a point, makes it without condescension and knows the difference between madness and passion . --Jeff Shannon, Amazon.com
Audio commentary by screenwriter Doug Wright
2 featurettes: "Marquis on the Marquee", "Creating Charenton", "Dressing the Part"
Fact and film -- text pages
1.85:1 (widescreen 16:9)
Subtitles: Czech, Danish, Finish, Hebrew, Hungarian, Icelandic, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Swedish
The dialogue is literate and elegant and the acting is first-rate. Rush is dazzlingly flamboyant, Winslet is winsome and sweet, Phoenix is noble and earnest, and Caine is despicably cruel. The story and the brutal way it is presented, however, were repellant to me, and I found it difficult to watch. If cruelty offends you, you probably won't like "Quills."
The story is pretty simple really! Read more
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