Posted by Jen; 2 stars
Director: Laurence Dunmore
Starring: Johnny Depp, Samantha Morton, John Malkovich, and did we mention Johnny Depp?
The Libertine is a sub-par drama taking place in the 17th century during the reign of King Charles II, and follows the escapades of the 2nd Earl of Rochester (Johnny Depp) as he tries to be the biggest dick of his age. He begins by saying we, the audience, will not like him, and spends the rest of the film trying very hard to fulfill that promise by doing the great pursuits of his time: writing verses, emptying bottles, and filling wenches with a focus on that last one. He is vile, disgusting, and goes out of his way to be a douche to other people.
In fact, it seems that the earl gets pleasure out of others’ hatred. He speaks whatever is on his mind because “it’s more interesting than what’s going on around (him).” This includes getting a family portrait painted of himself and a monkey rather than his wife. When he sees a young, and terrible, actress, he takes her under his wing to guide her to greatness. His motivation for this is that he can only feel things while in the theatre, so that makes everything play. And it is while he is there that the king, who had always been a good and kindly friend, commissions a great work from him to entertain French dignitaries, and instead the earl puts on a play about dildos and oral sex, thus getting himself banished.
The storyline was subpar and in many instances did not make a lot of sense. The dialog was patchy and the plot didn’t really lead to the characters learning anything. This is a very forgettable film, whose only saving grace is that it stars Johnny Depp, and there are dozens more just like it, only much more entertaining.