Sadism. It's either me checking forums at almost 9 on a Friday night, or it's the movie I just watched. Tonight, it's the later.
I just finished watching Quills, a slightly Hollywood-ized bio-drama about the Marquis de Sade. This movie got incredible reviews a couple of years ago when it came out, and Kate Winslet is one of my favorite actresses. And yet, it was on the discount rack at Best Buy for $4.99 the other day when I went to pick up a copy of Carpenter's The Fog. So I picked it up on impulse. Value-wise, it was worth it.
Historical accuracy means nothing here. It's really an exploration of sexuality, pornography, and the value and danger of ideas. I've read several of de Sade's stories, and while they certainly don't hold a candle to the almost endless quantity of pornographic writing one can download for free on the Internet, they do represent a specific challenge to a status quo unimaginable to me in a day when I can download a home movie of Paris Hilton and Shannon Doherty's boyfriend by typing three words into Kazaa.
It is this feeling that the film attempts to capture, and does a decent job of it. It is more violent than it is sexual (a phrase some would use to describe de Sade's writing anyway), and it's more a study of the priest played by Joaquin Phoenix and his descent into insanity. It's about censorship and de Sade's burning desire to write, and the lengths he went through to place his thoughts on paper, for someone - anyone - to read. In a way, it was more about artistry and the dangers of creativity than anything else. And that's a good thing.
I don't think the film is as good as many people made it out to be, although it was very good. So far, I don't think Joaquin Phoenix has done a bad job acting - the range of characters he can effectively protray is amazing. Quills seemed very self-aware from time to time, although never to a fault. Overall, it was satisfying, but there isn't much to say about it that hasn't been said before - the themes are old and unfortunately it really didn't offer anything new to the discussion.
Oh well. I wonder what David Lynch's next film will be?
What I'm reading: Love in the Time of Cholera - Garbriel Garcia Marquez
What's playing: People are Strange - Covered by Echo and the Bunnymen
Saturday, November 15, 2003