The infamous writer, the Marquis de Sade of 18th Century France, is imprisoned at Charenton Insane Asylum for unmentionable activities. He manages to befriend the young Abbé de Coulmier, who runs the asylum, along with a beautiful laundress named Madeline. Things go terribly wrong when the Abbe finds out that the Marquis' books are being secretly published. The emperor Napoleon contemplates sending Dr. Royer-Collard to oversee the asylum, a man famed for his torturous punishments. It could mean the end of Charenton and possibly the Marquis himself. Written by
Emily H and Janette W
When guillotining someone, a wooden piece called a lunette is placed above the neck so the condemned can't move it. No lunette was used in the opening scene. See more »
Marquis de Sade:
[voiceover, as Coulmier writes]
Beloved reader, I leave you now with a tale penned by the Abbe du Coulmier, a man who found freedom, in the most unlikeliest of places: at the bottom of an inkwell, on the tip of a quill. However, be forewarned, it's plot is blood-soaked, it's characters depraved, and it's themes... unwholesome at best. But in order to know virtue, we must acquaint ourselves with vice. Only then can we know the full measure of man. So come... I Dare you... Turn the page...
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I originally went to see this one in a movie theater on a whim - I was feeling spontaneous, so I bought a ticket for a movie I knew nothing about, and went in free of preconceptions or expectations.
The cleverness of the very first scenes brought a smile to my face, and I knew I was in for a rare treat; off the top of my head, I can't think of a movie with a better conceived, audience grabbing opening sequence.
And the impression lasted throughout this great film. Quills is a passionate (and entertaining!) cry in defense of artistic freedom, and the fundamental freedoms of speech and religion; and it is a deliciously clever movie, both in dialog and in plot. It is actually a movie that has something to say, and does it in an entertaining, engaging way that doesn't leave the audience feeling that they are being lectured to or talked down to.
A few scenes are gruesome and unpleasant, but they, I think, are a necessary evil for the telling of the story, not a gratuitous shock-tactic.
The performances are excellent throughout, and the storyline is will firmly claim and keep your attention. Quills is the sort of movie that you don't forget, and that'll linger on in your mind long after you've seen it.
I would heartily recommend this movie to anyone - even if it doesn't sound like the type of movie you'd normally go for. I for one am very glad that I happened to be feeling spontaneous the day I went to see it, because otherwise I would most likely have missed it. So give your spontaneity a chance if you happen upon Quills in your local movie rental place.
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