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
When Dorian is fighting Jim in the train station tunnel, the sleepers and spikes are visible. The spikes seen were not in use in 1890 when the novel was written, nor the era when the film is set. See more »
[On a girl he saw, who just departed with a man]
That was probably her husband.
Lord Henry Wotton:
Yes, very sensible... People die of common sense, Dorian, one lost moment at a time. Life is a moment. There is no hereafter. So make it burn always with the hardest flame.
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In the closing credits, one of the pieces of music played is listed as Haydn's "Sting Quartet" Op 76 No 4. See more »
During post-production, the film was tailored for a '15' certificate in the UK. According to the BBFC, the filmmaker cuts were as follows:
A scene in which a tea party is inter-cut with shots showing Dorian's sadomasochistic excesses was toned down to remove or reduce the more explicit moments (explicit sight of a fingernail being pulled off, explicit sight of a chest being cut with a razor in a sexual context, explicit sight of blood being sucked from a woman's breasts and sight of a restrained man being beaten).
Additionally, a murder scene was toned down to remove the sense of dwelling on the infliction of pain and injury (reduction in the number of stabbings, removal of a blood spurt from man's neck, reduction in sight of victim choking on his blood).
The subsequent version was then formally passed '15' by the BBFC without cuts, and released on DVD and Blu-ray. See more »
Update is more of a horror film than the 1940's original
Updated version of Oscar Wilde's story geared to modern sensibilities that would perhaps appeal especially to horror genre enthusiasts.. . It seemed more or less conventional period piece for awhile but about 40 minutes in, an event occurred that nearly killed the whole thing for me. But the acting was so good I stayed.
The blood, gore, and sex had to be endured, but thankfully these and other lurid elements were dished out in fairly short segments. The portrait did not merely become besmirched with the increasing decadence of the eponymous anti-hero, it exuded vermin that fell writhing to the floor, to name one example. Purists might want to take on a pass on this but if they like good acting they might reconsider. Ben Barnes (Dorian Gray) appears almost callow at the outset but that perhaps to reflect his early innocence. But he loses that rather quickly and becomes perfectly believable with an appearance Oscar would have approved of.
Ben Chaplin (Basil Hallward) very good. The epigrams are often thought of as breezy, mirthful witticisms, delivered perhaps with hauteur but Colin Firth's (Lord Henry Wotton) are stern and brisk, intoned as if to be something to be remembered for the next quiz, highly entertaining and still (if not more) amusing. Dorian learns them well (as we know). Colin Firth is a versatile actor and I like him especially in this vein, the aristocratic bearing with the air of authority and sophistication, not to be messed with. A wonderful screen presence. The star of the show (for me).
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