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A man moves his two daughters to Italy after their mother dies in a car accident, in order to revitalize their lives. Genova changes all three of them as the youngest daughter starts to see the ghost of her mother, while the older one discovers her sexuality.
A naïve young man. A lovelorn artist. A corruptible Lord. A deal with the Devil. It all paints a dark picture of a Victorian London and how the rich and infamous party at their peril. Here, the telling of time and its consequence of experience for life's treasures' takes its toll on the body, mind and soul. The haunting and bleak tale of power, greed, vanity and inevitable self-destruction is ever present amongst the deceit, opium dens and sin. Written by
Excellent modern adaptation, does Oscar Wilde justice
I attended the World Premiere of "Dorian Gray" at the 2009 Toronto International Film Festival. Starring Colin Firth and Ben Barnes, this newest adaptation of Oscar Wilde's classic Gothic horror story was directed by Oliver Parker from a Toby Finlay script. Set in Victorian England, Gray (Barnes) and his mentor Lord Henry Wotton (Firth) embark on an adventure that will lead them down paths they could never have imagined. I'll leave it at that for those unfamiliar with the story.
"Dorian Gray" is definitely a crowd pleaser. Ben Barnes is on screen almost every second from opening to closing credits and is frighteningly brilliant as the titular character. Together, Barnes and Firth carry the film.
As a period piece, art and set direction are unsurpassed. Roger Pratt's cinematography flawlessly places the viewer into the hazy London setting and the costumes are stunning. Capturing both the deplorable conditions of the urban poor as well as the debauchery of the moneyed class is critical and perfectly executed here.
Parker's take on the story is dark and surreal, placing slightly more emphasis on the real than imagined. Today's technical abilities allow the images to be more explicit than in the previous black and white version of the story, so visual and special effects are dramatic and effective.
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