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Dorian Gray
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Dorian Gray More at IMDbPro »

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4 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Did Oliver Parker even attempt to READ Dorian Gray?

Author: DoctorMauMau from United States
29 May 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I very much wish I could take back the hour and fifty-two minutes of my life that this movie robbed from me. I have read the book and I have seen the 1945 rendition of the book, and I must say that this abomination should not even be called "Dorian Gray".

Now, I remember bits and pieces of the book and it has been a few years since I saw the 1945 movie; but, why is Dorian such an awkward goose in this movie? Dorian should be gregarious, even when it comes to new company. He is pleasant, well-spoken, and charming even WITHOUT his looks; however, in this movie, he stutters all over the place and does a horrendous job portraying somebody who is youthfully ignorant and superficial. Dorian should be all about his looks and just goes giddy over the simple things in life because he cannot see past his own nose in terms of planning ahead in life. It's all about the "now" for him, so why can this so-called "Dorian" at least LOOK like he is young, carefree, and a little bit up in the clouds?

This movie skips past important scenes that actually give character development and more-or-less focuses on how many sexual situations they can throw Dorian in to make girls squirm in their seats. The scene where Basil is painting Dorian's portrait with Henry watching is the point where Dorian sees Henry as a cool person to follow! The numerous episodes with Sybil which shows that Dorian has no idea how love works! If this was a normal movie, yeah, go ahead Parker, do what you wish, but don't pull that mess with a classic. You look tacky and make a good read look boring.

Why is this movie so dark and dreary? This is a "moral-to-the-story-is" type tale not a Twilight 2.0 tale. There are no vampires in this story, you can cut the whole dark and mysterious look because Dorian, as a character, is not supposed to be "dark and mysterious" character. For all things right, Dorian is bright with his golden hair and blue eyes!

Even if you have not read the book, this movie is bad just because it runs like a soft-core adult movie. There is no character development, scenes skip from one event to the next with no reason for it, and it all just seems like a rush to get to the "juicy" parts. If you have read the book, just stay away from this abomination, you would HIGHLY wish you did so.

Also, it is LORD HENRY WOTTON. HENRY. Not HARRY. If your actors cannot get the NAMES right NUMEROUS TIMES then you need to find a new actor.

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4 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

So disappointing

Author: Matthias Klein from Germany
10 October 2010

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Just having read the novel the second time, I also wanted to see how this works on the screen - so I put the DVD in the player.. BIG mistake. The movie features nice pictures and decent playing - but the PLOT!!!! I am flabbergasted, how one can take Oscar Wilde's masterpiece, remove everything interesting and fascinating, add random meaningless crap and call it a movie. There is nothing wrong about altering a book for a movie to make it more accessible in "modern" times, but that does not mean that such a great book should be raped in a merely brutal way. Sure - the original has chapters that I'd have gladly seen to be omitted. Still, the movie just did the book SO wrong - the characters have been changed / perverted in so many ways... I do not mind the introduction of some daughter, but how Dorian was introduced, how the relevance of Sybil Vane for him was (shortcut/ridiculed/stripped/argh)... I lack words to describe my disappointment. The murder of Basil - it is not only an important chapter in the book, but it also meant Dorian to cross the border to being evil - in the movie, I do not know what it meant. The "country girl" in the book, which Dorian "spares" attempting to be good (in a vain way) - replaced by some depressing love to a woman that accidentally happens to be Lord Henry's daughter (oh, what a twist.. HA!). Lord Henry, the man who is not bad by definition but simply denies any moral - turns into a caring father for the sake of this parody of a plot. Oscar Wilde, I am sorry to have given money to those morons that created this joke.

For anybody not having read the book - enjoy the movie, it is not really THAT bad by itself, I think. But for me, it was the worst disappointment I ever had, watching a movie.

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5 out of 7 people found the following review useful:


Author: CatherineAsaro from United States
27 May 2011

*** This review may contain 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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6 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

watch this for Ben Barnes and Colin firth

Author: archwordsmith from India
25 March 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I have never read the real novel on which this movie is based but am well acquainted with the legacy of Dorian gray. so when i sat down to watch this movie i wasn't having any pre screening expectations like i had for da vinci code, harry potters and countless other films based on novels and stories i have read. so i sat and watched, and i sure loved this one. its a well made movie with some stellar performance by 'prince Caspian'. mark my words folks, given the right opportunity he can be the next breakout star of Hollywood, he can be cause in this movie he has shown such a myriad of emotions as his character gets transformed from a simple handsome youngster to a devilish man.

and the 2nd reason i loved this movie is cause it has Colin firth in it..need i say more?

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7 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

Haunting Oscar Wilde tale of a young man whose painting ages while he retains youth

Author: ma-cortes
25 January 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Another adaptation of Wilde's renowned novel about a young man named Dorian Gray (Ben Barnes in the title role) whose portrait ages while he remains eternally youthful . It starts with Dorian who arrives in London to move into the mansion he has inherited . Almost immediately he falls under the influence of rake Lord Henry Wotton (Colin Firth), leading to a life of increasing vices, excesses and even violence . Through many years Gray stays as youthful visage , while a painting made by Basil (Ben Chaplin) grows old , reflecting his increasing perversion . Eventually the portrait, now secreted in his house, shows worms and a horrible vision . When his true love (Rebecca Hall), the Henry Wotton's daughter, ultimately enters his life he realises he must hide his secret at all costs, even killing . Dorian retains his young-looking as ever while his picture shows the corruption physical ravages of aging guarded in the attic and becomes almost hideous to behold.

Modern-day take on of the known story by Oscar Wilde about an ageless, fresh-faced young man whose portrait reflects a life of debauchery and the ravages of time . This features Ben Barnes giving a nicely restrained acting at the beginning and excessive on the final. Good performance from Colin Firth as calculating and amoral Lord and gorgeous Rachel Hurd-Wood as unfortunate actress . Rebecca Hall is particularly appealing in the lead as Emily Wotton . Large support cast is frankly well as Maryam DÁbo , Emilia Fox, Fiona Shaw, Caroline Goodall among others . This rendition not nearly as good as the original classic and contains sex inserts throughout the movie . Although talky and sometimes slow moving , this movie nevertheless keeps you glued to the screen for its nearly two hours running time creating a foreboding sense of terror accompanied by a frightening musical score. Excellent and dark cinematography generating a chilling atmosphere made by the magnificent cameraman Roger Pratt . The motion picture is professionally directed by Oliver Parker , though with no originality .

Other versions about this famous story are the following : The vintage version directed by Albert Lewin and starred by Hurd Hartfield , Angela Lansbury and George Sanders ; European version (74) by Massimo Dallamano with Helmut Berger , Maria Rohm ; and TV version by Glenn Jordan with Shane Briant and Nigel Davenport .

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10 out of 17 people found the following review useful:

Hollywood version of Victorian London - again

Author: badajoz-1 from United Kingdom
12 January 2010

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

London as the hellhole of the nineteenth century - yet again, sex, drugs and rock n roll. A good trailer then for 'Sherlock Holmes' - except this is about real good and evil and its consequences. Or it should be, but isn't. I never believed Gray's corruption, even if Colin Firth is a tempter par excellence, as Mr Barnes just looks the part and women cannot help themselves but lift their skirts for him. In fact, Dorian Gray just drifts through the film like a slightly bored teenager (why didn't they go the whole hog for the USA and make him a real slacker with Seth Rogen or Will Ferrell in the lead?). I saw the movie on an aeroplane - did I miss any really good orgies or porn? or was it all just non-erotic sex scenes that didn't deliver? Redemption is around somewhere at the end with the Colin Firth character seeing the error of his ways because his daughter is about to fall into the clutches of Gray, but Mr Barnes can't save his performance or his character as the picture is finally revealed complete with worms! By this time I was past caring and wondering how warm it was going to be in Orlando! And what happened to Emilia Fox's character, apart from showing how one could fall in Victorian times (unfortunately there was no Oprah or Jerry Springer to get the whole family together to forgive and apologise!!!!!!!)? A strange film that I am glad I never had to pay to see. British film making dies another death.

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15 out of 27 people found the following review useful:

A rather failed adaptation of Wilde's masterpiece

Author: simona gianotti from Italy
8 December 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I was very curious about the adaptation of what I consider one of the best pieces of English literature, mainly because, besides the worldwide known plot, what distinguishes the novel and makes it difficult to be adapted for the screen is the subtlety of Dorian's character, and the complexity of relationships.

After a promising beginning, which seemed to be well focused on the three main characters, Dorian, Basil and Henry, the movie gradually shows a precise intention by the director to reduce the moral corruption of the protagonist, which is the core of the novel, to a mere sexual perversion, rendered in terms of orgiastic, opium intoxication, which I found really excessive for the viewer to stand, who has perfectly perceived that his corruption included also sexual life but, not only. Moreover, I found this choice quite inadequate for a modern public, unfortunately overwhelmed by sexual references in today's society, I think that other aspects, such as the relationship with youth, and beauty could have been exploited to get a more modern appeal.

As far as the cast, Colin Firth is really good, his interpretation is subtle and credible, the young Ben Barnes playing Dorian does his best, but he has too an angel-face, a more mature and experienced young man would have been more suitable. Female performances are quite insignificant, at least underdeveloped throughout the story, and not given enough space to make an impression. The general atmosphere is rebuilt with sophistication, undoubtedly outstanding some locations of 19th century London, as well as some inner settings, although sometimes exceeding in mannerism, and darkness, and too claustrophobic.

As a conclusion, a rather failed attempt at adapting a great novel to a movie produced, probably, with the aim of attracting a modern audience with strong and still excessive visual effects (in the end, Dorian's hideous portrait showing his corruption awakens like a monster in a too spectacular way), and erotic scenes which drown it to a kind of sexual horror-movie, incapable of giving justice to the greatness of the Wilde's masterpiece. The only merit, that of making one feel like re-reading the novel, in order to appreciate its writing, and, unfortunately, to discover new flaws in the movie.

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18 out of 33 people found the following review useful:

Really gripping story

Author: Pictoris7 from United Kingdom
1 March 2010

Based on a book by Oscar Wilde i thought this will be interesting film and i was not disappointed. I never read the book so i don't know how close the book is to the film but i must say the writer has done a great job updating this, with a story that really grip you.

The directer has done great job making it very dark but not too dark you can't see thing. Making feel like you are in back street of London in 1800's. The casting was top notch with newcomer Ben Barnes and an really outstanding performance by Colin Firth. Was really surprised to see Ben Chaplin from the comedy show "Game On". He is not bad drama actor too.

You can really connect with characters in this film which it make it really interesting film to watch and an story that alway make you think. Must see.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Should have gone to bed!

Author: lillylazuli from Melbourne, Australia
9 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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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Only Recommendation is the Oscar Wilde Witicisms

Author: LeonLouisRicci from United States
7 August 2014

Here's the Thing. It is Recommended that Before Watching this Film that is Worth a Watch, Read the Book. Or if You are a Movie Only kind of Person than View the 1945 Version. Only then is it Advisable to give this one a Go.

Because the 1945 Film is Infinitely Better and the Book is, well, The Book. This Movie's Watchability is Only So Because of the Witticisms and Cynicisms of Oscar Wilde. Otherwise this Mediocre Movie is Nothing More than a Bad Version of a Good Hammer Film.

It Relies on Nudity, Bloody Violence, and Modern Cinema Trickery to make this a Product of its Time and Persuade Current Audiences that this is Hip to the Jive of what Today's Moviegoers Expect. But it is done Without Much Style and is Rather Pedestrian.

Ben Barnes as Dorian and Colin Firth as His Mentor Henry are Adequate Both, But the Film is Forever Pushy with its Ridiculous CGI 3D Painting and Long Sex Scenes that Bury the Story with Excessive Overkill that is Frankly a Bit Boring.

The Things that make the Classic Book and the Better Forties Version So Much More Rewarding is Charm and Style. This One has Precious Little of Both and is a Middle of the Road Exercise that should Only be Seen as a Curiosity after Experiencing the Aforementioned Book and or Movie.

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