Oscar Wilde's only novel and considered by some to be the last great gothic novel written is also a fantastic piece of fin de siecle. I have read the book many times, seen the 1940s film and a few years ago I saw the play but up until today I had only seen the trailer for this and read the reviews here. I was not too sure if I was going to enjoy this, but I have to admit that it is very good. There have obviously been alterations made here from the book, but in the whole this is in keeping with the actual story.
Ben Barnes is good as Dorian Gray but for me Colin Firth was the star of the film, his interpretation of Lord Henry Wotton as slightly sinister, indeed satanic was a great piece of acting. The problem with this or any adaptation of Wilde's masterpiece is that everyone who reads the book has their own idea of what depravities Dorian got up to, but this film covers most bases on that point. I was worried when I heard that there was some nudity because I thought that the director had perhaps gone for a sexploitation movie rather than keeping to the story, but I was refreshed to see that these scenes were only brief and actually enhanced the tale, as well as being artistically done. The costumes and scenery were spot on and the special effects regarding the aging of everyone except Dorian Gray were fantastic. CGI was used with the painting, which was very effective, and added another dimension.
All in all this is well worth watching, but be warned you will never beat the book, it just wouldn't be possible. I would advise anyone to read the book, and also Against Nature (Penguin Classics), as this is considered to be the book that Dorian takes inspiration from (which isn't shown in this film).
Extras on this dvd include outtakes, deleted scenes and a few featurettes.
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