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Don Juan De Marco Review

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A young man commits one last seduction, then attempts to kill himself by throwing himself from a billboard. A psychologist is called in to talk him down, and spends the next ten days trying to learn if the man is, as he claims, Don Juan De Marco, the world's greatest lover.

★★★★

In one of the most inspired pieces of casting in many a year, the devilishly handsome Depp takes on the part of a young man who believes he is Don Juan De Marco, the legendary Latin lover and seducer of more than one thousand women. It's a role Depp was born to play, his beauteous looks and doe-eyes the perfect accompaniments to a lifetime of seduction and loving.

The story unfolds with Don Juan, bedecked in Zorro mask, flowing cloak and brandishing a shiny blade, embarking upon a final fling before perching himself atop a billboard in an attempt to end his own life, having lost his one true love. The police call in Dr. Mickler (Brando), a psychiatrist on the cusp of retirement, who talks him down and has him committed to a mental hospital where he has the next ten days to prove whether Depp is, in fact, certifiable, or whether he can be unleashed once again upon the female population.

Over the course of the next week-and-a-half, Depp spins his life "story", from his childhood in Mexico to his time in an Arab Harem where his favours were taken by 1,500 women during an understandably exhausting two-year period. It's a poetic catalogue of erotic adventures that are more sensual than sexual. Within moments of his arrival, however, the hospital's female staff have turned into gibbering wrecks, while Brando's relationship with his wife (Dunaway) seems to gain added spice as he gradually realises that Don Juan is truly who he says he is.

Slight but undoubtedly sweet, this is a comic confection of innocence and charm. Depp is again a revelation as the dream lover whose acceptance of his fantasy world shows a firmer grasp on his own "reality" than the saner folks around him. Brando meanwhile, straining at the girth but never really shown head-to-toe, fills the screen with as much charisma, but doesn't allow himself to dominate Depp. His cheeky reproach to a colleague for putting on weight is a terrific moment, a wink at the audience. The rest of the film is equally wonderful.

Depp plays on both his looks and quirky charm to make the title character a joy to watch, while Brando thoroughly enjoys himself as the suddenly amorous physician. Utterly charming.

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