Combustible Celluloid
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With: Jacques Weber, Emmanuelle Béart, Penélope Cruz, Denis Lavant
Written by: Jacques Weber, based on the play by Molière
Directed by: Jacques Weber
MPAA Rating: NR
Language: French with English subtitles
Running Time: 91
Date: 03/18/1998

Don Juan (1998)

2 Stars (out of 4)

Don Yawn

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Based on Molière's Don Juan, this vanity project by little known actorJacques Weber (Cyrano de Bergerac, Beaumarchais the Scoundrel) wasprobably meant to ignite his career, but his ponderous presentationstifled any potential sparks. Weber plays the story's hero, a grandlover who abandons the beautiful Elvire (Emmanuelle Beart) and hits theroad, pursued by her angry brothers. He continues his quest for pleasureand ignites the flame of love within two new women (Penelope Cruz andAriadna Gil). Weber has a giant-sized, barrel-chested body and aphysical power that reminds one of Orson Welles or Marlon Brando, butwithout their magnetism. For a while, you can buy that this Don Juancould conquer a few women, but he's far too dull to be the mostnotorious scoundrel of all time. Even having two of the world's mostbeautiful women (Beart and Cruz) in the cast does not raise the film'ssex quotient. It just gets duller and duller as it moves away from DonJuan's lovemaking and drags more and more into his personal struggles.The great Denis Lavant (Beau Travail, Les Amants du Pont-Neuf) shines ina small role as a jealous buffoon.

DVD Details: Koch Lorber has tried to resurrect this forgotten film on a new DVD, letterboxed with optional English subtitles, but it comes with no other extras. The transfer makes it look like a TV movie, just a little fuzzy and flat.

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