Combustible Celluloid
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With: Johnny Depp, Samantha Morton, John Malkovich, Paul Ritter, Stanley Townsend, Francesca Annis, Rosamund Pike, Tom Hollander, Johnny Vegas, Richard Coyle, Hugh Sachs, Tom Burke, Rupert Friend, Jack Davenport, Trudi Jackson
Written by: Stephen Jeffreys, based on his own play
Directed by: Laurence Dunmore
MPAA Rating: Rated R for strong sexuality including dialogue, violence and language
Running Time: 114
Date: 09/16/2004

The Libertine (2005)

2 Stars (out of 4)

Dirty Grind

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Johnny Depp plays John Wilmot, the Earl of Rochester, and also one of the 17th century's most famous dirty poets. Like a less refined Marquis de Sade, he seduces women and behaves badly while in a constant drunken stupor. Samantha Morton provides a lift as budding actress Elizabeth Barry, whom he takes under his wing. Depp gets to practice his slurring Pirates of the Caribbean English accent while boasting, "you will not like me." This should have been a bracing antidote to honey-colored twaddle like Casanova, but director Laurence Dunmore films everything through a corrosive brown fog, obscuring and muffling the film's life force. John Malkovich co-stars, wearing a fake nose as King Charles II. Stephen Jeffreys adapted his own play.

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