Sunday, June 26, 2011
Director: Milos Forman
Writer: Milos Forman, Jean-Claude Carriere
Genre: Drama: Romance
First off, Valmont is yet another adaptation of the book Les Liasions Dangereueses. This was the last of the various adaptations for me to watch and now I've seen them all! Well, unless there's some sort of made-for TV version. Unfortunately, I only reviewed one of the others: Dangerous Liaisons.
In regards to what Valmont brings to the table it shows a different side of title character Valmont then all the other adaptations. For the most part, we are always the stranger looking in on this very selfish man who wants every woman possible. Somehow, this film managed to make viewers empathize with him and see that he's not bad at all, simply misguided. What's most strange is how as opposed to those other films, it seems much more like a Shakespearian comedy than a devilishly cruel one. The other films were good at being darkly comedic but this just felt bubbly in comparison even though the same exact storyline was playing out. I honestly couldn't tell you how they manged it, but it worked well.
I enjoyed the movie wholeheartedly especially since it wasn't the same old thing. However, I wouldn't go so far as to say I like it more than the other adaptations. Personally, Dangerous Liaisons still remains at the top of my list. Even Cruel Intentions, which is of a much more Hollywood variety is a little higher up than this. Possibly. I'd need to watch it again.
What was most strange about this version of the story is that there was never any outright stating that Valmont and his sister were the ones engaged in their cruel plan. I'm not sure if the character was just revoked of her sister status so it wouldn't be incestuous or if they really were siblings but you are just supposed to know from the base material. I don't know but it struck me as odd that it was never explicitly declared like in the other versions. It's easy enough to slip in "my dear sister" so why didn't they do it? Or maybe they did and I wasn't paying attention, but none of the other characters seemed to comment on it either. The closest I recall hearing though was when the character said "he's almost like a brother" or something like that. Obviously, it seemed to be hinting to the idea that he IS her brother, but still an obtuse way of going about sharing information.
Beyond that, the film was pretty solid and entertaining. I'm happy this version was Keanu Reeves free. Nothing against him, but his portrayal of the music teacher in Dangerous Liaisons was basically like everything else he did in the 90s - lifeless.