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Really troubling version of the story
GL845 November 2012
When a young aristocrat arrives in London and begins to indulge in a life of hedonism and excess, he finds he doesn't age physically despite trying to harbor a deadly secret that will shatter his image forever.

This was a dull, utterly horror-less Horror/Drama that, once again, falls victim to that one singular, nearly inescapable aspect of recent British horror films, a dreary pace that drags stuff out far longer than it should by showcasing scenes that have no horror in them yet are supposed to be presented as such. Watching a person drink, smoke, do drugs and engage in orgies with highly unattractive women while everyone around him wonders why he still looks the same isn't horrific, yet that seems to be the entire crux of what passes as horror in the film. That the mystical painting isn't shown at all until the end might have something to do with that, and the total lack of explanation for such an event is also glossed over, and it's not until the final ten minutes that something starts happening, and while it's good stuff with the reincarnated spirit and the grand old-school Gothic burning-down-the-house scenario, it's too little too late.

Rated R: Violence, Nudity, sex scenes and drug use.
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This disaster could have been avoided if the director had a Sassy Gay Friend, or at least a copy of the damn book
uberfurbs1 April 2012
Warning: Spoilers
Problems with this movie:

1. Ben Barnes as Dorian. I guess he's kind of good-looking in a gawky sort of way, but he's not blindingly gorgeous and charming enough to seduce every man, woman, a child in the British Isles. In fact, he's kind of awkward.

2. The whole plot line with Sybil is just....FUBAR. I don't even know what to say about it, other than to wonder whether the director actually read the book or not.

3. The boobs-to-intelligent-discussion ratio is alarmingly high.

4. Remember in the book how Basil had a lot of great lines? Well, that's all been replaced by bitchy glares and an awkward blow job.

5. When Dorian smells the bloody scarf after he kills Basil. I don't know, I guess it's a petty thing to complain about, but it just made me laugh hysterically at an inappropriate time.

6. The ending. Where did that even come from, seriously. I really want to know whose idea it was to completely change the whole second half of the plot, because really, if you think you can write Dorian Gray better than Oscar Wilde did, you should be lobotomized.

Good things about this movie:

1. Lord Henry. Spot on.

2. They have some really nice costumes.

3., that's about it.
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I gave up
Sjhm17 March 2012
Warning: Spoilers
A frustrating, irritating CGI'd mess, filled with swirling cameras and predictable orgy scenes that ultimately failed to accurately portray Victorian London or the contents of the book. In between bouts of depravity people wander around in Victorian clothes looking very pretty and completely lost. Ben Barnes is neither pretty enough, nor possessed of sufficient character to be the eponymous Dorian. In his hands, Gray is lifeless and somewhat uninteresting. Sybil Vane appears, there is no chemistry, and she drowns herself after his rejection. There are no reasons for his rejection, he just rejects her and she drowns. In the book the reasons for Sybil's suicide are more complex and interesting, and her death is through swallowing poison not drowning. After that incident the film careers downhill with the brakes off. Unlike the source material it is devoid of any kind of personality and just limps on. Basil the artist goes in the river in Gray's truck, which any number of people could have identified, yet miraculously Basil's body is found. There is no rhyme or reason to any of it, rarely has Colin Firth been as dull as ditch-water, but he is both boring and irritating in this story. There is no sense of time passing. The action of the story takes place over at least a couple of decades, there is no suggestion that this is the case. Unfortunately, the complete lack of time-line, charisma-free zone, and just the sheer tedious drudgery of it put me off to the extent that I did not make it to the end. My advice, if you want a ghost story of significance, this is not the one for you. If you are looking for Dorian Grey, Stuart Townsend played him with verve, wit and charm in The League of ExtraOrdinary Gentlemen.
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Laughably Bad Movie
dawejon-113-63207821 July 2011
Warning: Spoilers
I hardly know where to start describing just how bad this movie is. First I will say that the movie, especially the first half, feels terribly choppy and rushed. The relationship between Dorian and Sybil, for example, from initial meeting to marriage proposal, to break-up and suicide is covered in the space of TWELVE MINUTES. This is including the scenes in between in which she is not involved. The director probably could've put a montage of them running through tall grass and painting each other with paint rollers while giggling merrily and it would've done a better job of establishing this relationship in believable fashion.

I feel like the director just wanted to get it out of the way so that he could spend as much time on the lurid details of Dorian's life as possible.

Director: What? I have to provide an explanation? OK here goes...

Dorian: hi I'm Dorian want to get married?

Sybil: yeah sure

**2 days later**

Sybil: you slept with a whore! I'm going to kill myself!

Director: OK now that that boring storyline garbage is out of the way I can get to the S&M sex montages, murders, and a painting that actually GROWLS AND HISSES.

Which brings me to my next problem with the movie; the cheesiness and unbelievably heavy-handed symbolism. The first time that we actually see a heavily altered version of the painting hidden up in the attic, the camera zooms in on the painting and yes, it actually hisses at the audience. I feel that this is a massive cop-out on an attempt to create a frightening and tense atmosphere. It is as if the director was unable to use lighting, shot framing, scenery, etc. effectively to create the atmosphere which he desired, and decided instead to have a ghost pop up on screen and yell "BOO!" at the audience to startle them into a state of fright.

The symbolism is something I would expect to see from a first year film student. The montage of S&M sex scenes inter-spliced with scenes of Dorian spreading jam on a biscuit made me burst out laughing. Possibly the most obtuse symbolism I've ever seen in a movie takes place when Dorian seduces Hallward at his party while some kind of sexually charged African drum dance involving a large snake takes place downstairs. That's right, snakes look kind of like a penis, and they're representative of sin! BAM! Double the symbolism! I was so convinced in the final scene where Lord Henry speaks to the painting that it was going to blink or start crying, I'm sure someone talked the director out of that one. I wouldn't even have been surprised to see a caption saying "Dorian is in the painting" with an arrow pointing to it.

A great deal of Oscar Wilde's sharp wit is cut from the story, and what does remain I would call the most redeeming factor of the whole movie. There are still a small handful of wonderful Wilde quotes that will have you laughing and thinking, but you can save yourself the trouble of viewing this travesty.
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What a disappointment!
Tara Bennet6 January 2010
When I first heard about the Picture of Dorian Gray becoming a movie I was excited and overjoyed. I thought with this new technology the 21st century has, The Picture of Dorian Gray will receive the justice it deserves. However, I was very wrong. I just finished watching the movie and I felt compelled to write a review about it.The movie was horrible. A grand disappointment which had such potential to be great. Firstly, the movie should have claimed to be inspired by the novel not based on it. I say this because the movie was very different from the novel. All of Oscar Wilde's wit and beauty which truly made the novel classic was ruined and overshadowed by the changes the movie made. I understand that there can be biased when reading a novel before seeing the movie adaption, but this movie adaption was appalling. I wont give anything away but the movie seriously ruined Oscar Wilde's vision and above all his memorable characters. Once the movie changed aspects in the novel the whole thing became horrible. Trust me, you'll agree if you've read the novel first.

Ben Barnes is simply gorgeous but he hardly brought any character development. I never felt pity for him throughout the movie compared to the novel. The novel brought the characters to life and described the reality of London life. The movie made the classic novel very shallow. I must add that as much as I love Colin Firth he was not convincing as Lord Henry. The character was someone who was vindictive and unchanging. He drained Dorian and was never affected by the consequences of his own evil; Colin Firth failed at reincarnating the abhorred character. Whats worse is that the whole ending is changed, which ruins the whole message of the novel. In the end, Oscar Wilde's masterpiece remains legendary in its pages as opposed to its film adaption. Seriously, I think my rate of 4 is being to generous.
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Completely Twisted!
Rin Dadkhah18 February 2012
Warning: Spoilers
I first read the book and absolutely loved it, so I was looking forward to the movie in order to materialize the writing, but I was really disappointed. First of all Ben Barnes as Dorian Gray! definitely not a good choice, the original Dorian Gray of Mr.Wilde is elegant, beautiful and has an aura of purity and innocence about him, which the actor fails to display. The Dorian Gray in the movie seems unintelligent and apathetic, his emotions are plastic and fake. Although it is not surprising that the movie has twisted the story as it has been done countless times before, the fact that some of the most significant concepts of the original story have been altered bothered me, such as displaying the portrait to the public eye! I dare say the story began with Basil, the painter, not wanting to show it to the public since he believed he had put so much of himself into it and then of Dorian's fear of anyone seeing his soul! HUH! not to bore and bitter you with my criticism. anyway the fact that the movie had distorted the original story to a great extent bothered me and the characters are very dull and lifeless compared to the book. I prefer Oscar Wilde's version hundred times more. Hope this review has been helpful. Rin
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Did the screenwriters even read the original story by Wilde?
nyc1001217 February 2010
There's not a single thing inherently wrong about adapting old stories in new and surprising ways. Unfortunately the writers removed all of the original class and gender subtext in the original story and then added naked ladies. Really that's all there is to this adaptation. Some unusually bland acting goes with the bland writing. I have a feeling the actors knew the movie wasn't going well, took the paycheck, and just went a long for the ride.

I have to express some discontent that some others say this adaptation does justice to Wilde's story. I just don't see that at all sorry. This is "lowest common denominator" kinds of movie making. The good news is that this is the sort of movie that disappears in a heartbeat after a quick release to DVD.
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Promising concept. Horrendous execution
irisheyes31730 September 2009
Warning: Spoilers
It is inevitable that when any classic novel (Oscar Wilde's being no exception) is adapted for the screen, certain liberties will be taken to make it an engaging story to an audience present for 2 1/2 hours. In this 21st century execution, Oliver Parker includes an interesting theme certainly real in Wilde's Victorian era and widely discussed on the social AND artistic scene today: the failure of paternal figures. The longing for an admirable father figure serving as Dorian's ultimate Achilles' heel is a fascinating theory to draw from. It could've certainly presented itself as a unique theme to distinguish the film from Albert Lewin's 1945 version.

Unfortunately, this is all completely drowned in gaudy pornographic material (not dissimilar to the undoing of "Caligula"), overdone special effects, and terrible performances.

Ben Barnes is arguably a very promising actor who could've effectively played the role within a few years of performative maturity and growth. In this film, the lack of the aforementioned makes his acting painful to watch. At this stage, he simply lacks the severity and command of the famous character's evil to be believable. Barnes is weakly tossed from scene to scene and presents very little to persuade the viewer.

The most appalling performance comes from Rachel Hurd-Wood as Sybil Vane. It is perplexing as to why a more mature, capable actress couldn't be chosen to play the role instead. Hurd-Wood, probably due to lack of experience and performative maturity, is simply incapable of convincing anyone watching that it is a winsome, naive theater girl we're seeing. One of the first rules of acting is to live and be the role, NOT anticipate from line to line (which she does obnoxiously every moment she's on-screen) Mercifully, she's only present for 15 minutes of the film, but it's enough to be among the greatest of the film's flaws.

Not even the remarkable Colin Firth can save this travesty of a film, as his Henry Wotton fails to emit convincing sinisterness that his mere words will corrupt the young Dorian. When he illogically changes his tune in the film's final 15 minutes, it only leaves awkward confusion and embarrassment. Understandably, this could mostly be the fault of the director drowning character study in favor of saccharine visuals, yet Firth is certainly capable of doing better even when his characters have limited screen time.

Granted, a film discussing the theme of self-indulgent hedonism will depict occasional free love, just enough to get the point across as to what the central character is up to. Pornography running at the rate of every other scene, however, is too much. Parker has made the mistake assuming that this is necessary to appeal to a 21st century audience, figuring the vast majority lack the intelligence to have understood long ago that this is among Dorian's long list of vices. A few scenes of the character smoking opium in a burlesque was already serving this purpose. The theme then plunges into the annoying with unnecessary (and terribly performed) scenes of mid-ball rendevouxs and orgies that smack of pathetic attempts at convincing eroticism.

Another item to note: Wilde's novel was notably controversial during its time for its homeoerotic overtones. In this more tolerant age, the visual beauty of male characters and settings is enough to represent this very theme Wilde presented. The addition of an absurd snog between two characters (which not only strays from the plot's logic but also glaringly from the relationship dynamics depicted in the novel) once again betrays Parker's belief that audiences are too stupid to gather the homeoerotic elements already present.

A portrait that moans and emits maggots like a hungover zombie might frighten those who've been spared years of horror movie parodies. In watching this film, the scenes with the ever changing picture provide an embarrassing orientation to this, enough to have Wilde spinning in his grave. No sooner are syrupy pornographic scenes temporarily not on-screen than the film is dragged down again by overdone special effects that have been the undoing of many, many movies in recent years. A director of Parker's caliber should've been aware of this long ago. Thus, there is absolutely no excuse for this to be present in a film that is intended to carry a theme deeper than late 90's movie era eye-candy.

There are no words to describe how utterly ridiculous, even border-line laughable, the ending to this film is. In brief, it competes with the over-the-top, embarrassing ends of various characters depicted in "Van Helsing". Once again, visually (already mentioned as ruining this film). If Parker was attempting to end this picture with a bang distinguishable from previous versions, he renders it a complete joke.

There is certainly pornography available that costs less than the price of a movie ticket. Corny special effects 101 can even be obtained for free in many places. That said, anyone interested in this rendition of Wilde's work should save his money.

Oliver Parker has directed some exceptional films. This one, disappointingly, is greatly under par having resorted to cliché special effects reminiscent of cheap horror flicks and squanders artistic talent.

What a shame.
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Half cocked
meandmy bigmouth19 January 2013
Haven't read the book in years and was very much looking forward to watching this but from the opening shot I knew I was in for a big disappointment. It looked and felt like an episode of a period TV series, even making the first shot a quick flashback to last weeks episode. It felt like a cheap dated effect.

Drab lifeless lighting throughout the film managed to make some beautiful sets and costumes look flat and uninteresting. Surely the warmth of candlelight would give someone in the lighting department a bit of inspiration, a chance to increase the sensual feelings necessary for a lot of the laughable debauchery scenes? Pedestrian, bland, painted by numbers, adequate acting but it all lacked a decent script, an editor who gave a damn and grr maybe a bit of soul? Occasionally it lifted itself up out of the mire (probably scenes from the beginning of the project) only to come crashing down again as everybody got bored and even more disheartened.

I was astonished to find how quickly I got bored watching this which is such a shame as it could have been something so much better.
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Enjoy it for what it is: A picture show and nothing more.
Cinema_Fan15 September 2009
The Picture of Dorian Gray, as penned by the Irish wit Oscar Wilde (1854 - 1900), is a tale of high-brow debauchery and limitless pleasures of body and soul and the corruption, by one Lord Henry Wotton, of the young, handsome and soon to be narcissistic 19th century rock 'n roll hell-raiser Dorian Gray.

Ealing Studios have translated Wilde's controversial novel into a celluloid den of iniquity that somehow comes across as rather shallow. Like the characters seen here too; it seems that as a work of symbolic gesture of how the upper classes conduct their sordid lifestyle of hypocrisy, deceit and lust it lacks any deep and thoughtful intrigue that any good 19th century Gothic horror story should be.

To fully understand the ethics of a Victorian London that Oscar Wilde has so wonderfully reflected with his novel here, we see, too, with this latest interpretation using, as Wilde may have done, the picture purely as a metaphorical means. Yes, we see the selling of souls here and the lamb to the slaughter and the hedonistic teachings of Lord Wotton, but toward the end, the whole sordid affair becomes predictable.

Penned with an undercurrent of realism and too fantasy of the love of sin. It's a dark, dirty, dingy setting of a self-indulgent Victorian London that we are lead to believe is prim and proper on the surface but lurking just below this weak, temperate society lies pure greed, greed for experience, experience that will transcend the mind, body and soul to the wondrous dealings of what life has to offer. For, as always, a price, a price both Oscar Wilde and Dorian Gray would pay the highest sacrifice.

It is with a taint of sorrow that this latest performance too has paid a price too high, sensationalism over content, ironies aside, the film seems too concerned to show the sordid details of this lifestyle and its inhabitants'. It lingers on too far in the bedrooms of London and strays too far from the mental anguish that may have been. We see the trouble mind of our young (looking) man but we see not enough of his fears, regrets, sorrows and repentance, which are cast aside and squandered. Welcome to the 21st century Mr. Wilde.

By the time the chimes of time are echoing in the distance we have Dorian fading into the far reaches of the eternal abyss of the afterlife. With all the time in the world we are still wanting more to feed our palates, it's all to aesthetically pleasing, but at the same time oh so unrewarding, a taster we are given but the full flavour we are, regrettably, spared.

This too may have its target audience and in so having picked its target out it may have trouble standing the test of time, due to its lack of wit, lack of diversity and a lack of daring and commitment of its original source. It is a sad loss that such a literary work of historical meaning and wealth should have been robbed of its qualities.
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Brilliant - until the last 20 minutes where it becomes the picture.
Sapfarah16 September 2009
Warning: Spoilers
The end of this story is like a perfect diamond that completes a beautifully crafted ring and the producers of this film replaced it with a cheap zircon.

It was to be expected I suppose, books are never transferred well on screen, yet that is as infuriating as when Fran Walsh diddled with the character of Faramir for whatever selfish reasons. Sadly, the movie started so well, which doesn't justify that choppy conclusion.

Colin Firth's character 'Henry' was absolutely let down in the end. He was NOT supposed to be remorseful, certainly not for the sake of a daughter that did not exist and frankly, it's about time the myth that some gormless, gap toothed, opinionated girlie is the answer to a corrupt man's redemption, provided that man is appealing. Even at a strain, I do not see how her presence suddenly blotted out a lifetime in Dorian's memory, bringing the overwhelming need to become 'good' again. Dorian Gray never chose to repent, his portrait certainly didn't CG itself out of the frame and nobody set it on fire.

Just to set the record straight, the whole purpose of this story is to show the unrepentant, forever handsome youth, who's only concern is the existence of proof of what he's done, the destruction of it being the all too human fallacious belief that if something is out of sight, well, you guessed. He chose to stab the portrait and was then FOUND dead, a disfigured, revolting old man before a splendid portrait. A magnificent end the movie robbed us from, all for the sake of having a magic, purifying GIRL.

I wonder if Oscar Wilde would have been as incensed by the ending of one of his best works as I was but since he can't protest, perhaps the voice of one of the fans of his work and particularly this novel, will do. It is unfortunate that, like the portrait in the story, the movie begins marvelously and yet by the time it concludes, one wants to take a blade at it, in the vain hope that the original story may be redeemed.
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One of the worst book adaptations I have ever watched, and a bad movie.
Francisco de Leon26 February 2015
The novel is like a play itself; it's one of those books that would look best on the screen just as they are, line by line.

Far from that, in the movie, they make a very bold -and unrealistic, from my point of view- interpretation of Lord Henry Wotton's character, and some serious changes in the story development.

Scenes that looked great in the book were changed with no apparent object but the desire of being original, and other good scenes from the novel simply didn't make it into the movie.

While eroticism in the novel is only suggested with sharp delicacy, it adds some explicit, unstylish scenes to the movie.

Only good thing I can point out is Colin Firth's acting. I already thought he was perfect for the role before knowing about the film.

The story is so different from that of the book that I'm really amazed at how some people dare say it's as good an adaptation as they could expect. It's not just that I have seen far better than this in other book adaptations, but this is really one of the worst I have ever watched.

Finally, since, besides Colin Firth's acting, everything good about the movie is what little was taken from the novel -and also looked better in the novel-, I must say this movie has no credit of its own, therefore, I consider it terrible.
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Should have gone to bed!
lillylazuli9 August 2014
Boy, do I regret staying up late to watch this!!

Gratuitous sex scenes were laughable and annoying. Honestly, I cannot add anything new that others haven't covered in their reviews of this (bad) film. And the only reason I'm writing more than two lines - the concluding sentence - is because IMBDb has a minimum of 10 text lines for submission.

Colin Firth was passable, and the reason for giving this one star. Honesty, I'm struggling to think of anything good about the film to fill up the required minimum text.... set design...

All I will say is just go straight to the original film of 1945, The Picture of Dorian Gray; do not pause, do not even consider watching this remake.
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Nothing more than a painting
SnoopyStyle3 May 2014
Dorian Gray (Ben Barnes) is a young naive man arriving in Victorian London to live in his newly inherited mansion. Artist Basil Hallward (Ben Chaplin) befriends the newcomer. The cold-hearted Lord Henry Wotton (Colin Firth) leads him astray especially from his love of sweet young actress Sibyl Vane (Rachel Hurd-Wood). Basil paints him a portrait and he proclaims a deal for his soul.

This is a cold stiff unimaginative movie. Ben Barnes is barely a pretty picture but he is certainly not much more. His character is not interesting enough to be compelling. The movie has no excitement and barely any tension. It limps along with as little drama as possible. Colin Firth plays with so much anger in his eyes that I find none of it appealing. If he was charming, then I could see the appeal. Everything in this movie moves at a tired pace. It is moderately watchable... barely. There are problems inherit in the story. Sibyl Vane comes and goes so quickly that their love feels superficial. The relationship doesn't have any time to develop. Rebecca Hall has slightly better chemistry as Emily Wotton. Her character is slightly more complex and most importantly has more time. Overall, the movie just isn't very interesting.
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Just no!
Kirsty 'Granny' Caddy29 April 2012
I decided to watch this film two days after I finished reading the book. In short, it missed out every single thing that makes Oscar Wilde's book great. As well as the subtleties, it misses out the great speeches, and even fails to enforce the real themes in the book to any depth. Henry, Dorian, and Basil's characters are poorly explored and established, which I would say is a massive part of the books appeal. This is further enforced by very poor acting! I was dubious about Colin Firth's suitability for the role, but with some more time i believe that he could have worked, but the scripts didn't allow it. Dorian's character possibly has the look, but depth of acting just wasn't there. I'm hardly a film critic, but this is my opinion. Incredibly disappointing to say the least.
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no justice for Oscar Wilde
laurethil1 February 2010
Warning: Spoilers
I watched the film the other night and all I can say is that I'm very, very disappointed. If you are a fan of Wilde, DO NOT WATCH THIS. If you have not read the book, then you might like it. All the wit of the author is lost upon this movie. The Dorian they found (Barnes) has just a bit more expression than a stuffed doll. I'm sorry, but he doesn't do justice to the part. If you want to have a truly "wilde" experience, then read the book. Oh, and Dorian does NOT sleep with half of London society. His moral decay is hinted at, and precisely because of these hints the author gives, you can actually feel the fear and fascination people have for him. I also strongly suspect that Dorian never really loved any of the women (it seems to me that he liked boys more). This is his tragedy: a constant struggle with himself, with the demon inside.
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picture perfect
Cs_The_Moment12 September 2009
Warning: Spoilers
i have to admit, i had my doubts about this movie at first. After reading the odd couple of reviews, i wasn't entirely sure if this film was for me. i am not a fan of horror and, like quite a few people i suspect, was put off slightly by the "horror" classification that most reviews seemed to mention. However, as it turns out, it is not like your conventional thriller.

i have never read the book, and so i cannot compare it to the film, but the story was extremely enjoyable. A young man who trades his soul to the devil in exchange for eternal youth and beauty, after seeing an incredibly lifelike portrait of himself, does not seem entirely unrealistic given todays cult of appearance-obsessed celebrity youth, and in fact most of the film stuck to the realms of reality. Set against a beautiful Victorian style backdrop of London, the film managed to mirror life through a visually delightful time period that managed to modernise itself in its content, and maintained a nice contrast between light and dark throughout.

I was also throughly impressed with the casting. Ben Barnes was the perfect choice for Dorian Gray himself, managing the conversion between the innocent young man, to the seductive charmer, to the fear-possessed psychopath effortlessly. Add that to the fact that he is breathtakingly perfect, and even as an audience you begin to be drawn into his youth and extreme beauty. Colin Firth was unlike anything i've ever seen him in before, much in contrast with his cheery "mamma mia" role, as he played Dorian's enticer, lord henry. Harsh and often sexist, he very much had a "frankensteins creator" character, desperately striving to corrupt Dorian's innocent nature. Ben Chaplain was also good as the creator of Dorian's special portrait, Basil. And then of course there were Dorian's two main love interests, Rachel Hurd-Wood and Rebecca Hall, both of their characters bringing contrasting characters to Dorian's affections.

As for the content of the film, it had what i believe most good films should contain - a shock. And it certainly shocked. It opens with a scene which you are certainly not expecting, but succeeds in capturing your interest for sure. It then falls into a kind of lull as we meet the innocent and gorgeous Ben Barnes, but then hypes up again as we are introduced to rude and obnoxious Colin firth. The film continues in this fashion for the majority of the time, with a few unexpected shocks along the way as Dorian begins his soul destructing spiral. There is obvious sexual content but it is certainly not excessive, and plenty of mild drug and alcohol abuse too, although again the film does not go overboard with these. Also, there is a reasonable amount of gore, although not enough to spoil your enjoyment of the film, and these moments are also fairly obvious and so the squeamish (including myself) can simply close their eyes during these short scenes. The only other thing to mention is the horror which occurs at the end of the film when Dorian's painting reveals his mutilated soul. I personally didn't watch this bit and would certainly recommend to those who don't enjoy being scared to not watch it either, as it is apparently rather intense, but again, it is also fairly obvious of when it will occur.

Dorian Gray is a fabulous, fast paced drama-thriller that provokes thought into our own "celebrity" lifestyle and the pressures we put on appearance, as well as a visual description of the price of eternal beauty on the soul. I would definitely recommend this film - it is truly picture perfect.
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CatherineAsaro27 May 2011
Warning: Spoilers
It is generally accepted that a book will always outdo its inspired films and this movie is no exception. It fails to even scarcely live up to Oscar Wilde's novel. In fact, the movie is so poorly executed and has altered so much of the original story that it might as well have been titled "Screw You, Oscar Wilde." This film is utter garbage and a a complete waste of time.

All of the author's profound, memorable and beautiful characters have been re- written to become shells of their former selves. The shy, romantic Basil Hallward, who was so completely devoted to Dorian Gray, became a flat background character with as much love for Dorian as a jealous, horny teen with a stupid crush. His death was neither haunting nor pitiable. Sybil Vane, a talented actress whose beauty was beyond compare, was played by an actress with no talent whatsoever. Funny that the loss of Sybil's talent was never really portrayed in the film. Dorian himself was played by an actor who should have never been casted. Although Ben Barnes is a very handsome young man, he barely matches Wilde's description of Dorian. Couldn't they have least dyed his hair blonde? His dark hair and pasty skin made him look more like and Edward Cullen clone than a beautiful Adonis. Additional characters didn't help to save the movie either. Emily, Harry Wotton's supposed daughter, was boring, but laughable, with no absolutely no personality or charm. Adding her into the mix ruined Harry and Dorian alike. Harry went from being a comedic, carefree fellow to a typical, over-protective dad. Dorian went from being a manipulative, selfish and cruel individual to a misunderstood boy who just wanted to be with his lady. I mean, really? This is what they came up with? It ruined the ending of the movie entirely. Dorian was supposed to die as he was: a terrible, corrupted soul. Instead, he says farewell to a woman he is in love with. A cheesy, overdone and predictable ending to a terrible movie.

There is no chemistry between the actors and their acting is stale. Although it was shot well, every second of this movie makes it look like a cheap Tim Burton rip-off, from the scenery to the characters. The pacing is horrible; the scenes are far too rushed. The script is cheesy and all of the romance the novel possessed was swept under a rug. There was nothing that saved this movie at all. It was just one big mess of crap. Just stay away from this movie and pick up a copy of the novel.
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A disappointing and shallow adaptation
itamarscomix13 November 2011
As is, The Picture of Dorian Gray is pretty much unfilmable. The 1945 version was close to doing it justice, but changes must be made whenever an adaptation is attempted. Still, when I see a new version coming out, I hope that it would bring more to the table than this sorry affair.

Oliver Parker is apparently thinking less of Oscar Wilde and more of himself with every adaptation. The very same director who did a fantastic job with very loyal and conservative adaptations of An Ideal Husband and The Importance of Being Earnest, strayed this time so much from the source material that it's barely recognizable - and I mean less the plot, and more the atmosphere, the message, the smart dialog and the fascinating characters who made the original novel so compelling. Parker chose instead to focus on the horror and erotic elements of the story, making it a pretty standard Dark-Side-of-London Victorian era horror film, perhaps in a feeble attempt to cash in on the success of From Hell and Sweeney Todd - and at its worst moments, it feels almost like a Twilight follower. Though the production values are clearly pretty high - cinematography, costumes and sets are all pretty good - they're also uninspired and completely lacking in originality.

Even worse are the cardboard characters and the shallow horror-movie dialog that replace the witty and dark banter Wilde was famous for. Ben Barnes is a very weak Dorian, showing no emotion or development over the course of the movie, but it's not solely his fault; Colin Firty gives his whole to a very complex and interesting character, but it's not enough to make the dialog ring with any kind of depth.

Thanks to a solid production and a couple of good actors, Dorian Gray is watchable, but just barely; and when it's supposed to be darkest, it's the most ridiculous. A pointless adaptation of a classic piece of literature.
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Thoroughly enjoyable
kester_gillard15 September 2009
I've been puzzled by the negative reviews i've seen for this as i really enjoyed it. It looks superb, with some excellent atmospheric Victorian locations. Ben Barnes is perfect as Dorian, good looking but not bland & still sympathetic throughout the film. The character of Emily which has been invented for the film works very well, and Colin Firth is magnificent in his pivotal role. Dorians gradual deprivation is well shown without heading off into exploitation and he is given real depth. His tragedy is very obvious.I must admit to not having read the original book as yet, but I do intend to now. I really enjoyed it but for its full benefit I recommend seeing it at the cinema.
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What a waste of pretty costumes
ModroMore2 August 2014
Warning: Spoilers
Well, it seems they have taken some liberties with adapting the story from the original novel, which sadly for Hollywood films, almost always leaves the movie just a bit worse than than the book. My first thought about the movie after the ending was : "well they had some gorgeous outfits".

Though Dorian depicted here wasn't what I expected (I expected a life- size porcelain doll), Ben Barnes was nevertheless charming and did keep my attention during the film.

The portrayal of Lord Henry was exactly what I expected and fun to watch, but not as nearly as interesting as reading his words from the book.

The actress playing Sibyl Vane was beautiful, but her storyline was completely ruined, she wasn't given any personality and they cut out one of the best parts from the book: the real reason why Dorian breaks off the engagement(which is not her nagging about him going to the club, but her obsession with his love) which signifies the start of him becoming shallow and eventually evil.

What lacked in this film was more of Wilde's philosophy, charm and Lord Henry's paradoxical opinions. I guess they had to cut all of that out in order to make room for a couple of sex scenes and a pointless subplot about Henrys daughter Emily, which of course did nothing good for the film. I know that literature back in the 19th century was subversive, but good Lord, they really read between the lines. Maybe I'm wrong, but I don't remember Dorian sleeping with half of London in the book. They also dedicated a few seconds to advertise autocompany Fiat which ddidnt exist at the time.

One more thing, the musical score made the film sound like a horror movie.

The photography, the visuals and production design were amazing, but it is a missed opportunity.
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A half-hearted affair
DoomDealer15 March 2014
Dorian Gray is the sort of film that receives a lot of hype at its release, including the promising new acting talent, and then quickly vanishes into obscurity, in this case taking the 'promising new acting talent' with it, never to be seen again.

Both, the film and Ben Barnes, clearly failed to live up to people's expectations. Nothing against Ben Barnes personally, he may be a good actor but talented is something else. Good looks just aren't enough. I don't want to go into too much detail here about how it's not the most faithful adaptation of the novel, etc., but watching Dorian Gray you get the impression they were trying to come up with a fresh interpretation of Oscar Wilde's famous novel, but didn't quite know how to go about it.

The one thing keeping this film from being a total let-down is Colin Firth (no surprises there), although it has to be said that his performance is a bit more lacklustre than we're used to. Still, he hopelessly out-acts everybody, most of all Ben Barnes. The kid just doesn't stand a chance. Colin Firth has the only script worth mentioning, although his character's pretentious one-liners do start to grate half-way though the film. Other than Firth there is nothing in or about this film that stands out, or makes it a worthwhile exercise.

In a nutshell: it's bland, it's boring and it does test your patience on a few occasions. Dorian Gray is not the kind of film you should have seen at some point in your life. If you have, chances are you'll have liked it, but are in no rush to see it again any time in the foreseeable future ... or, indeed, ever. It's the kind of film you want to watch relaxing on an evening, without having to think too much, and then feeling afterwards that you should've watched something else instead. It leaves you strangely dissatisfied.

Worth a look but ultimately leaves you wondering, 'why did they bother?'
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OK film, bad adaptation.
Ari9714 May 2013
Warning: Spoilers
I decided to watch this film some days after I read "The Picture of Dorian Gray". If you watch the film and haven't read the book, you will probably find it an OK movie. However, if you have read the book, this adaptation will leave you disappointed.

The original storyline by Oscar Wilde is very good, so I do not see why the adaptation went so far from it. I have nothing against a modern touch, but here the original ending is changed to a large extent. If the author wanted a girl to change Dorian, or a whole new second part, he would have written it himself.

The character of Basil had some very strong lines in the book, but in the movie he just seems like a weird artist. Also, the scenes which show Dorian among naked women were, to me, totally irrelevant.

However, I have to say that Barnes was OK as Dorian. Even if he could have shown some more character development, his acting was not bad. Also, Firth was really good as lord Henry, I would like it if he had more lines.

I'd give a generous 5 out of 10.
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could have been better...don't know how though
poyrazbaklan13 January 2013
A rather visually appealing adaptation of the book, Dorian Gray fails on most other aspects. For those who haven't read it, it is a rather short novel about a young noble who has a portrait of him made and through reasons never explained, the portrait is supernatural, aging and visually deteriorating while Dorian stays the stud that he is, no matter how many years pass and how many evil deeds he perform. It is a nice idea and the book is a rather nice read. But, was a screen adaptation really necessary? I mean it is a short book and not that much happens in that sense. The movie stays true to the book, in a sense the slow descent of a handsome and promising man into a decrepit life within the facade of the lavish and luxury life of the rich. The environments are well detailed and the characters are well played out but to be fair, there is very little to them. Dorian's betrayal of Sybil(who is played by maddeningly pretty Rachel Hurd-Wood) is so glossed over and artificial and although Ben Barnes portrays him as charming at first, the character is not all that appealing to watch. In the book the portrait is never illustrated in full detail, you have to assume what becomes of it as time passes. Here you see the creepy thing and worse, the movie treats it almost as a horror movie object, with groans and twitches emanating from it.(admittedly freaky) All in all, I did not like the movie, because there is just so less to see in it, most of the scenes are padding between the portrait being painted and what becomes of Dorian. Nothing interesting happens in between and Colin Firth is non-existent even with his usual charm and quirks, he could have been the perfect Mephisto to Dorian's Faust yet he plays the role poorly. Not bad, but not worth the time either.
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Over-glossed adaptation
Framescourer28 December 2012
Even before one gets onto the mixed performances and self-consciously edit-propelling of the story I was somewhat put off by the oleaginous slick of the HD in which this adaptation of Wilde is filmed. For a tale that pops out of the shadows - with its supernatural themes, hallucinatory episodes, nightlife scenes and the simple chiaroscuro of the (book's) titular picture - this is too well-lit, too glossy a film.

In addition to this I found Ben Barnes' Dorian a profoundly neutral character. Metaphorically botoxed by his unwitting compact with his portrait it's as if the actor has assumed the same attitude in front of the camera. It doesn't help that Barnes is surrounded by some pretty strong performers in Colin Firth, Fiona Shaw and latterly Rebecca Hall; I might also mention Johnny Harris' James Vane, a strong showing in such an ensemble cast, and the all-but cameo of Maryam d'Abo (whose beauty, ironically, even prosthetic ageing cannot disguise).

The nail in the coffin of this exercise may well be the snuff-movie comic scenes of sex and gore. I also considered whether Oliver Parker's excessive grip on the story is some extra layer of overdeterminism to further stretch the sense of the meta, the occult that the film toys with. I doubt it. 4/10
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