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Quills

1 rating: 5.0
A movie directed by Philip Kaufman

   Based on the award-winning play by Doug Wright, this erotic and fantastical drama reconstructs the unknown fate of the Marquis de Sade, the writer and sexual deviant who was imprisoned in Charenton Asylum for the last 10 years of his life. … see full wiki

Director: Philip Kaufman
Genre: Drama
Release Date: December 25, 2000
MPAA Rating: R
1 review about Quills

Someone, please - a quill

  • Aug 8, 2006
Rating:
+5
Pros: A little devilish, highly interesting, fabulous acting.

Cons: Oh, not for everyone, of course.

The Bottom Line: We all have our…appetites.

Plot Details: This opinion reveals minor details about the movie's plot.

I’ve just gotten done watching Quills about 15 minutes ago or so. It is 3:48am, stormy out, and I’m not tired in the least. Besides, there’s an infernal cricket in here chirping away, I swear it. So does that mean it is indeed the right time to be writing a review? As Shaft would say (or at least his theme song), “You’re damn right.”

I had never heard of this movie before until perusing the new reviews area and found milknchalk’s review. Well, after watching it I can certainly say that this movie is for people with tastes like…mine. And at least 74 other people.

The Story
Marquis De Sade (Geoffery Rush) is a writer. But not just any writer. A writer in an asylum for the insane during the Napoleonic era. But not just any writer in an insane asylum during the Napoleonic era – a highly erotic writer. If erotic is even the correct word for it – something with more…dominance or vigor might be required. Whatever you or he want to call it, it’s not to be published. That’s where Madeline (Kate Winslet) comes in. A simple chambermaid, she helps to smuggle his manuscripts out to the publisher where they find their way into the hands of the public. Joy for all – or perhaps not.

Not everyone is a fan of the Marquis’s fantasies. So Dr. Royer-Collard (Michael Caine) is brought in. His methods of dealing with those who are mentally ill are much harsher than those of the current head of the asylum, the Abbe du Coulmier (Joaquin Phoenix). Though never giving the impression of being insane, as his writing materials are slowly stripped from him, he goes to all lengths to get words out. All sorts of lengths. You aren’t afraid to join him as the whole place descends into madness, are you? Or is it going to hell in a hand basket? Choose your poison.

The Verdict
As the thunder rumbles outside, almost as if to protest me writing this review as the thunder rumbled in the movie during Marquis near final attempt to release a story, I find I am in agreement with everyone else on this movie.

Quite stunning, though it is easy to see that, even with a cast such as this, why it didn’t hit the mainstream public as magic material. In fact, it made me squirm (though not in a bad way – more of a suspenseful/thrilled sort of way), toes curling, fists clenching – perhaps you could blame it on the late night and the matching weather, as well as seeing it without any company, but it’s been a while since a movie has gotten a good crazed reaction out of me. The content is not for everyone, so watcher beware; if you can’t handle sex, death, a decent helping of cursing (mostly via the Marquis), and some oh-so-risqué reading material, pass this one up.

As for the acting, it was quite superb. I don’t recall how it started, but I’ve always had some strange tinge of allure towards Geoffery Rush, and his performance here simply added on to it, though in a tickling fiendish sort of way. The kind you shouldn’t really be attracted to and yet find yourself staring all the same. Kate Winslet does much better in movies such as this (and Sense & Sensibility) than in a few others I’ve seen her in. She seems better suited for styles such as this than the crazed glamour of Hollywood bang-up movies. Michael Caine was a magnet in itself simply because I haven’t seen anything involving him in quite some time, and he did so well, I absolutely abhorred his character – I’d never thought I’d be put off by him, but by thunder, he did it. And lastly, Joaquin Phoenix, the tormented priest, another fine job. I’ve never enjoyed him more, and haven’t decided if I like him as utterly tormented in some spots or how he is at the end, looking somewhat Johnny Depp-ish… And to all the actors who played the mental patients, a fabulous, albeit at times creepy, work.

Other things, such as lighting, effects, costume, and setting were all very impressive. Nothing was overdone and seemed to fit this movie right down to the wine in the glass and the ever-present dim tone. I found myself wondering about some of the props decorating the Marquis De Sade's room. Did they make those, or have fun finding them? What an interesting job...

I was worried about the end for a little while, but my concerns were assuaged. A bizarre and yet somehow rather satisfying tale. And, as a writer, without writing mediums, would I go so far to be able to write as the Marquis?

Well…I was throwing out ideas for him to use…

NT

Recommended:
Yes

Viewing Format: DVD
Suitability For Children: Not suitable for Children of any age

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