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Bel Ami (Blu-ray)
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Blu-ray Extras: - Interviews:
Kristin Scott Thomas
Directors Declan Donnellan and Nick Ormerod
Screenwriter Rachel Bennette
Costume Designer Odile Dicks
Mireaux Production Designer Attila F. Kovacs
Hair and Make-Up Designer Jenny Shircore
- Behind the Scenes
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Storyline was very weak - all his character does throughout the entire film is shag his way round paris. Pretty much felt like a high class porno and very embarassing to watch with my elder sister despite the fact that we are not at all prudish!
Walked out of cinema after an hour, as my brains were starting to leak out of my eyeballs. Terrible.
Bel Ami is an adaption of the novel of the same title by Guy de Maupassant. I can't say whether the film sticks to the original story or not, but with most films that answer is usually no. Bel Ami follows the story of George Duroy and his rise to power in Paris by manipulating the wives of the most influential men in the city.
At first I thought that Robert Pattinson was doing an excellent job and his acting was great, however, it soon became a source of much hilarity. Pattinson really does the 'tortured' face well and he basically had that look plastered on his face for this entire movie. In fact, it was pretty much identical to the face he pulls whenever Edward Cullen can smell human blood. Suffice to say, Robert Pattinson will never be anything more than the sparkly vampire from those teen movies. The other actors, however, were superb. The three main women were portrayed by Uma Thurman, Kristin Scott Thomas and Christina Ricci and they all had very different characters that were pulled off equally well. Had these three women not done such a brilliant job I think I would've just rolled around laughing for the majority of the film. Each of these women has an incredibly compelling character, each affected by some sort of demon. Appearances were very important in nineteenth century France so these actresses were essentially playing two women.
I was quite disappointed that the director didn't make more a point that this story is set in Paris as I could've easily mistaken it for London. There are no distinctively French features, in my opinion, which is a great shame because this is seen to be one of the greatest pieces of French literature. I think that the 'French'ness of the story was definitely lost, but it was interesting nevertheless. I was inspired by this film to research more into the novel of this film and other works by French writers in the nineteenth century as it seemed to be a thoroughly intriguing period of history. This film has an excellent soundtrack and the music really adds to the atmosphere of the story. The same piece of music is used throughout to create an ominous and tense feeling, but it works very well.
All in all, I suppose I would recomend this film because it's a really good story; however, if you're watching it on the merit of Robert Pattinson's acting then you will sorely disappointed. Watch this film for the women, not for the men, as ultimately they are they most powerful women in this film.
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.
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