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This is a modern updating of the classic, 'Picture of Dorian Grey.' As
if the Oscar Wilde story was rewritten by sex & shopping book hack,
Jackie Collins. There's nothing new here except for the setting, in a
photo model environment instead of Victorian London.
It starts off interesting enough but McDowell as a poor man's Devil, begins to chew the scenery before too long. And sadly, Ethan Erickson doesn't have the range of acting to successfully portray the slowly morally declining Dorian.
For a study in debauchery, there's precious little shown, you would get the idea the height of decadence was dancing in a few discos on the continent. Surprising since the video I watched had an 18 certificate.
The original film version was made under far more stringent censorship rules but still was able to imply the depths that Dorian sunk to in his pursuit of hedonistic pleasures.
This is just fodder for the MTV generation, full of flash style and hip music but lacking in any real substance at all.
Watch the original or for a study in moral corruption, check out the excellent 'Alias Nick Beal' starring Ray Milland as well.
The title of the movie, as shown by Showtime, the other night, was "A
Pact with the Devil". It didn't ring a bell as anything seen locally in
recent years. The idea of seeing a film with Malcolm McDowell in it,
and nothing else worth watching in the other channels, played a trick
on us. We witnessed in horror, a remake of the Oscar Wilde's novel "The
Picture of Dorian Gray" that has nothing to do with the classic, and
much better film, of 1945.
Under the direction of Allan A. Goldstein, we are taken, where else, to the world of the super models, where beauty is only skin deep. Henry, who stands as the Devil, tempts Louis into giving his soul in exchange of keeping his good looks forever, duh! Incredibly, we watch as the picture of Louis, now renamed Dorian, ages in ways that are not realistic, at all. I mean, a few wrinkles, we could understand, but making the image in the photograph, taken by Henry, a monster, is pushing reality a bit too far.
Malcom McDowell, who is an otherwise excellent actor, lends himself to this misguided attempt to retell something that was better done before and should have been left alone by the people behind this travesty.
Watch it at your own risk.
A mediocre re-telling of Oscar Wilde's classic Dorian Gray tale, the
only thing about it worth watching is Malcolm McDowell.
In his typical baddie role, McDowell is gleefully diabolical and makes even the most ridiculous plot turns almost believable.
The rest of the action, while pretty enough to look at, is flawed and boring at best. I rented this on the dollar shelf, and I rented it for McDowell. I got what I paid for.
Interestingly, IMDb doesn't allow me to post less than 10 lines of text, so I'm not going to have enough to say about its cheesy acting, rehashed-into-pulp mush of a very thin plot, bad dialogue, wooden character interactions, and all-around TV-movie feel. It's the kind of movie you watch when there's absolutely nothing else to do.
My advice? Vacuum instead.
The story is familiar - recall, original novelist Oscar Wilde's
"Dorian" wished his painting would grow old whilst he remain young.
Like in days of old, handsome male model Ethan Erickson (as Louis)
wishes for eternal youth. Then, while one of his pictures ages, he
becomes the ageless "Dorian" of the title. Like his predecessors, Mr.
Erickson descends into decadent debauchery. A charismatic older mentor,
Malcolm McDowell (as Henry), eggs him on...
Re-titled "Pact with the Devil".
Allan A. Goldstein's updated "Dorian" alters the story in ways that become nonsensical. The main problem occurs by making Mr. McDowell's character semi-Faustian. To have McDowell in the cast, and render his character inexplicable, should be a crime. Erickson, an extremely good-looking man, is also slighted by a faltering characterization - in an early scene, he is required to pretend he couldn't imagine someone thinking he could be a pin-up boy? And, Jennifer Nitsch (as Bae) has an undeveloped, but intriguing, back-story.
**** Dorian (2001) Allan A. Goldstein ~ Ethan Erickson, Malcolm McDowell, Jennifer Nitsch, Christoph Waltz
Everything about this sickly adaptation of Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray stinks to heaven: stinks its saccharin cloying disco soundtrack, stinks Cheshire Cat's grin of a protagonist throughout the film, stinks its stuffy atmosphere of cheap glamour. After the publication of bestseller about the model Dorian - I wonder what kind of bestseller may be written about a man advertising underwear - he becomes famous and forever young thanks to devilish charms put into his photograph and forever intoxicated on drugs and alcohol he's galloping through beautiful people's parties thanks to his putrid popularity straight to his unavoidable bitter end. If there weren't so many funny Malcolm McDowell's grimaces, for whom playing a demonic being is business as usual, I would have given this piece of crud just one star.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This was shown on cable under the title "Pact with the Devil". I
thought it would be an obscure John Carradine flick...but it was this.
This is a modernized version of "The Picture of Dorian Grey". Henry (Malcolm McDowell) a very rich man who runs a photographic service becomes enamored with Louis (Ethan Erickson) a young, hunky man. He sees him as the perfect male model and gets him started. He tells Louis about the story of Dorian Grey--a man who makes a deal with the devil--he'll stay young-looking always while his portrait ages. Louis is intrigued and does exactly that. Henry changes Louis' name to Dorian, Dorian becomes a HUGE male model and Henry will do ANYTHING to keep Dorian...including murder.
PLOT SPOILER AHEAD!! You've probably guessed that McDowell is the devil and it all ends as the original did. PLOT SPOILER END!!
This is no great movie but not bad on its own terms. It's beautifully shot in some absolutely gorgeous settings. The music soundtrack is good and there are some nice directorial touches. The story itself is OK--it follows the original pretty closely. There was one glaring lapse--it takes place over 20 years. Everybody notices how young Dorian stays--but don't notice it with McDowell or another character! McDowell is (quite obviously) having a whale of a time with this and he's just great. Erickson is so-so. Sometimes he's pretty good--other times he's pretty bad. But he is incredibly handsome with a nice body. The surprising thing about this is there's no nudity--the closest they get is when Erickson ALMOST bares his butt.
So--for a direct to DVD movie--this isn't too bad. And Erickson IS incredibly good-looking. I give it a 7.
A cheesy, modern take on The Portrait of Dorian Gray story. The most unsettling thing is, there are supposed to be flashbacks from 20 years earlier, but they aren't the least bit convincing - it almost feels like the moments occurred on a previous day. Malcolm McDowell's character is either immortal and unaging, or the makers of this film didn't feel it was important enough to put him in makeup to make him 20 years younger for these flashback moments. It was later on that I realized that this film may have been originally shot for television, due to the fading in and out that occurs whenever possible.
a great novel is too fragile to be a toy. this movie is proof.the intention of director is not very bad but not cast, not clothes, not acting can save a nasty script. and the acting is not impressive. this movie is only a stupid game with pieces from Faust and Dorian Gray. no start, no end. only a perfect chaos.boring, strange, gray. a kind of blasphemy. it is not an error or mistake. it is only a show, adaptation for a kind of public, mixture of fashion, photo art and temptation of celebrity, metamorphosis and moral lesson. so, the sin is option for Oscar Wilde. and the childish desire to tell a profound story as ordinary joke.otherwise, only great virtues for time waste
"The Portrait Dorian Gray", the classic story written by Oscar Wilde in
1890, was adapted to the modern times in "Dorian", a quite cheesy film
that brings the same story with an giant variety of changes and
characterizations of events, in short a drastic summary for people who
hate read books and prefers to watch images.
The story goes from the 1980's to the 2000's; Dorian (played by Ethan Erickson) isn't rich, he's a young worker that happens to be in the right place at the right moment when his beauty is noticed by Henry (Malcolm McDowell) who wants to transform the average worker into a famous top model. Instead of painted picture Dorian is immortalized into a photograph that will become ugly, scary while he'll never get old after making a pact with the devil (the notion we get is that Henry is the devil who steal cute guys souls to take). There's the forever young theme, the romance between Dorian and Sybil; tragedies, beauty vs. ugliness vs. intelligence and body vs. soul, and the elements and quotations perfectly written by Wilde in his masterpiece.
But there's something rotten in this film, something that doesn't work quite right. Actually, many things. The wooden acting from the casting (but hey, 'Mr. Hans Landa' Christoph Waltz is there to give an impressive job here), the script that is pretty laughable at so many moments (the photo session with Dorian trying to do a sexy pose is one of those); and once you love the book, know how everything is so perfect and beautiful in it, you can't never achieve greatness in an update like this. A remake with period costumes, closer to what the writer wrote, like the one made in 1945, works way better than this.
"Dorian" only works when it comes to see how handsome Dorian is, I mean, the main actor who looks incredibly hot whether shirtless, showing his great body or just wearing those tight jeans, so nice to look, he's very hunky. His female co-stars are equally good, except for the one who plays Sybil Vane, which might only be attractive to the director or Dorian's eyes.
This Dorian Gray's modernization might work for the poor souls who haven't got the opportunity, or the time and patience to read one of the most dazzling and respected classic of English Literature. To me, it was just an silly entertainment, with some good laughable moments. 4/10
Basically, transporting it to a modern day setting should be enough to
do the trick. Christ on a stick, this was a lamentable film. It will
never be the worst film ever, nor is it so badly made it sucks hairy
balls. But given the fact this was based on Oscar Wilde's "The Picture
of Dorian Gray", they sure turned it into an atrocity.
The easiest thing to do, was to set the story in the world of models & fashion photography (eternal youth & beauty, right?). Yawn, how original. Furthermore, this film suffers that hard from looking "so nineties", that it hurts. A lot. Ridiculous and worn-out fashion concepts, the photo-shoots are so clichéd (and you should see the result - no artistic value whatsoever), a lot of uninspired pop/rock songs for no reason on the soundtrack, lots of cheap but oh-so-hip at the time editing effects, glossy & shallow sensuality, polished soft sex scenes, art-farty 'beau monde' parties, an artificial fragrance of decadence,... Should I go on?
I've seen decadence in the world of fashion portrayed with more flair in a grotesque B-flick like "Night Angel" (1990). I've seen art, photography, evil & mirrors handled better in horror sequel romp like "Amityville: A New Generation" (1993). You think those are great movies? That should say enough about how good a job this "Dorian" did on a classic story. I've also seen great Edgar Allan Poe stories all mangled up and poured into some 'sorority girls' slasher-format in "Buried Alive" (1990), not exactly the most faithful of adaptations. But I'm sure if they'd turned this "Dorian" into a slasher, it would have been a better stupid movie.
You can tell Malcolm McDowell had some fun playing his part, as Dorian's (evil) mentor, but it's far less fun seeing him play it. The whole film pretty much bores you along, and so does McDowell after a while.
Have the Hughes Brothers make a new "Dorian Gray" movie with a Victorian London setting and give us decent adaptation. It would be for more pleasing looking forward to such a project than suffering through the umpteenth unimaginative Hollywood re-make of any given horror film these days. Or maybe I could check out that 2009 version with Colin Firth. It surely should have more appeal than this trite.
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