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Gentlemen Don't Eat Poets More at IMDbPro »The Grotesque (original title)

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6 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

Sting exposes everything in the English countryside!

Author: kate.o'donnell from Los Angeles, California
9 June 2000

If you have been itching to see more Sting on film here's your chance! You'll get to see all of him and often. As some other reviews point out this is not the standard American thriller, it requires a lot more attention to innuendos and symbolism. Anyone who is familiar with English country life will know that the understated aversive actions of the characters are dictated by the unspoken societal rules of such a setting. With his wife on and off the screen Trudy Styler,Sting puts on one of his most erotic, and intriguing performances. (For the boys and the girls!)

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3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

A very intere "Sting" Film

10/10
Author: fmcc49 from United States
14 November 2006

I really liked this movie, with it's dark but complicated theme. The acting in most cases was impeccable. Alan Bates as Sir Hugo was definitely as much of an antagonist in this film as was the butler Fletch, portrayed by Sting.The plot is thick and rather confusing as to know who the real Grotesque is ( as put by Sir Hugo) This was a much better screenplay than it was a book. The book really starts making no sense towards the end. The film at least has a third antagonist of sorts but I won't spoil it for you. Not easy to find, you can get this movie in VHS in the U.S. and DVD in some countries. It was worth the the watch for me.Sting is his usual sexy, steamy self and Trudy Styler (Mrs Sting who produced this movie) has a small interesting part as Fletch's alcoholic wife. It is dark and delicious fun and if you like this macabre genre, you might enjoy it. AKA "Gentlemen Don't Eat Poets" and "Grave Indiscretions"

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4 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

A Fantastic Film that combines wit and charm to deliver a dark masterpiece

10/10
Author: robbieanimalclub from United Kingdom
25 July 2006

Not much must be said about this film apart from i highly advice People to rent this movie. With a strong British cast including Sting. The direction is superb and the dialogue is intelligent and dark. This combined with a dark sinister plot makes it one of my favourite films of all time and John-Paul Davidson one of the best British Directors around. There are strong performances from both Alan Bates and Thressa Russel. And a surprisingly good performance from Sting and a quest appearance from his wife. Based on the book by Patric McGraph. Go and see it. You will not be disappointed. A must see British Film!!! And in case i haven't said enough. There is a very chilling score. And yes i do love this film!!

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4 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

Read the book, ship this movie

4/10
Author: ofumalow from United States
4 July 2009

It's very difficult to dramatize novels hinging on an unreliable narrator without losing their essence. David Cronenburg did a brilliant job with Patrick McGrath's "Spider," in part by turning the narrator's garrulous on-page viewpoint almost entirely visual. But this adaptation of another excellent McGrath novel (my favorite) doesn't work remotely as well.

Where the book is a fiendishly misleading quasi-Gothic that turns out to be quite something else, the movie plays like a routine naughty costume intrigue, part "romp," part Agatha Christie. Despite the very interesting cast no one is particularly good (and Theresa Russell gives one of her really bad performances, which unfortunately by now outnumber her few very good ones). The story's original macabre psychological intricacy is lost in favor of something much more broad, and the book's key revelation simply gets lost in the uninspired shuffle.

It's watchable enough if you're not expecting much, and should you care, on a couple occasions Russell and Sting bare nearly all. But you're much better off reading McGrath's slim, sardonic, nasty little novel, which is both a subtle parody of Gothic literature and a great piece of perverse unreliable-narrator gamesmanship.

P.S. You know a movie has misfired when despite such notable actors it goes through so many desperate name changes: Debuting as "The Grotesque" (its source name), barely released to theaters as ""Gentlemen Don't Eat Poets," then to video as "Grave Indiscretions."

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Odd and memorable with a touch of brimstone and a dash of treacle

7/10
Author: clarkejb from United States
17 December 2013

I have a theory about why Sting and Trudie made this move: I think they became involved with the film for sentimental reasons. As far as I know, Sting and Trudie fell deeply in love during the time in which Sting made the movie, "Brimstone and Treacle." There are significant differences between that film and "Gentlemen Don't Eat Poets," but there are a few striking similarities. In both films, Sting portrays a sexy, mysterious, and sinister character who becomes involved with an unsuspecting family. Both characters take on a role of servitude only to wreak havoc on the respective families for personal gain. The two characters also torment a child of the respective families. I think these character elements attracted Sting and Trudie to this project, and I suspect the film reminds both of them about an extraordinarily passionate part of their personal past together.

There are plenty of reasons to enjoy this film beyond any interest viewers may have for Sting as a celebrity. The acting is actually quite good, and the performance of Alan Bates is memorable. The costumes, the set, the score, and the photography are all excellent. Where the film falls short is the lack of an enjoyable story. There are really no likable "good guys." Instead, there are just victims and "bad guys." At the same time, the viewing experience is more weird than dark. I think viewers are most likely going to ask the question, "What did it mean?" I cannot answer that question, but I would like to point out that this film is the last significant film role performed by Sting.

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6 out of 13 people found the following review useful:

An unsatisfactory film at best; Sting's nude scenes are it's only redeeming quality.

Author: Mailgirl (jdunivant@hotmail.com) from Huntsville, AL
26 March 2001

This film opens on a wealthy family, the Coals, living in the English country side in the 1930's (I think),who for some reason, require the services of a brand new maid and butler, Mr. and Mrs. Fledge (real-life married couple Sting and Trudie Styler). The Coals have a far from happy existence. Lady Coal (Teresa Russell)is the classic neglected, sexually frustrated wife. Sir Coal's single preoccupation is paleontology. Their daughter Cleo is about to be married to a little squeak of a man that Sir Coal loathes upon his first meeting. Their family order is turned upside-down upon the Fledges' arrival, as the butler Fledge seems to have more on his mind than just servitude. Suddenly, the little squeak comes up missing and all fingers point to Sir Coal. This film packed a lot of events, but very little character development into it's hundred minutes. The pace was slow enough to allow for well-rounded characters, but dwelled too long on the wrong things. For instance, I learned more about dinosaur bones from this film than what happens to the characters in the very sketchy ending shots. Perhaps it was an attempt to be "arty" on the part of the director, but it didn't work. Theresa Russell and Alan Bates were not used to the full extent of their talents, and neither was Sting, who could've used more screen time and dialog to develop his character (it was either not given to him, or it was left on the cutting room floor.) Cleo's character was so annoying that I didn't care what happened to her or her foppish beau. Trudie Styler's character of Doris Fledge was barely window dressing. All and all an unsatisfactory viewing experience if you are expecting a masterpiece. On a personal note, there are some fantastic nude scenes here from Sting. Those were at least worth the misery (nearly) of sitting through this film. My only complaint about that those scenes weren't nearly long enough. The man is not ashamed of his body and neither am I. 2 out of 5 stars. (Sting gets 4.5 out of 5 stars. WOO HOO!)

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3 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

Too whimsical.

5/10
Author: gridoon
13 January 2004

Decidedly unpredictable but overly eccentric (you could say "overly British", but apparently the film was as much a failure there as everywhere else) black comedy, that strains to be whimsical at the expense of everything else (including laughs). The best thing in the picture is by far the bright young actress Lena Headey (wonderful also in "Gossip"), who lights up the screen every time she appears. Her sardonic smiles and the occasional gleams of dirty fun in her eyes are priceless; I don't think there's any other actress who can pronounce the phrase "how horrid!" (and mean exactly the opposite) quite like she does. (**)

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1 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Hey! It's sleeping pills in celluloid form!

5/10
Author: DM-19 from England
3 September 1999



I like the premise of this film, a butler worming his way into the family to gain their inheritance, but the execution lacks any excitement, tension or even passion that it should.

Sting fails to capture any real nastiness about himself, the cinematography is DULL and the really leaden script doesn't do any justice to the fine Patrick McGrath novel.

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4 out of 23 people found the following review useful:

Butler moves into house - sleeps with everyone

Author: ssinnott from Los Angeles, CA
14 July 2000

This movie was more boring than church. All they did was yak yak yak and didn't even shoot anybody. The sex scenes were okay, but it was all that "dialogue" and "plot" between the sex that really ruined this film.

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