England, 1699. Dutch landscape artist Meneer Chrome (Ewan McGregor) is hired by Thomas Smithers (Pete Postlethwaite) to design a garden in honour of his wife Juliana (Greta Scacchi). Chrome sets to work and before long finds himself the object of Juliana's passions, while himself taking a shine to her wild daughter Thea (Carmen Chaplin). As if these weren't complications enough, Juliana's cousin Fitzmaurice (Richard E. Grant) soon arrives on the scene, plotting Smithers' downfall and attempting to win Juliana for himself.
The Serpent's Kiss will probably be well received by fans of Peter Greenaway's arch and ornate films (The Draughtsman's Contract, Drowning By Numbers for example). In this movie, a young Dutch landscape artist named Chrome (Ewan MacGregor) is hired by homely but rich landowner Smithers (Pete Postlethwaite) to turn his overgrown estate into a masterpiece of topiary and hedge-mazes. But unbeknown to Smithers, Chrome is fulfilling the will of Smithers' ardent enemy (Richard E Grant), who hopes to bankrupt the wealthy man and seduce his beautiful wife (Greta Scacchi). When Chrome falls under the spell of Smithers' enigmatic daughter, all plans go awry. The strong cast wallows entertainingly in this mix of jealousy, decadence, intriguing visuals, Machiavellian schemes, and heaving bosoms, with Grant performing with his usual lurid gusto. The sumptuous Restoration-era costumes enhance this meditation on art versus nature. --Bret Fetzer, Amazon.com