Register  |   Log In  |  
Sign up to our weekly newsletter    
Search   
Empire Magazine and iPad
Follow Me on Pinterest YouTube Tumblr Viber
Empire
Trending On Empire
The Big 2015 Movie Preview
The 50 Best Films Of 2014
Review Of The Year 2014
The Perfect Night In
Great Movies From Warner Bros.
Subscribe To Empire
Sign up now and save up to 63%
Reviews
STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

FILM DETAILS
Certificate
15
Cast
Colin Firth
Annette Bening
Meg Tilly
Fairuza Balk
Henry Thomas.
Directors
Milos Forman.
Screenwriters
Jean-Claude Carriere.
Running Time
140 minutes

LATEST FILM REVIEWS
Miss Julie
2 Star Empire Rating
Second Mother, The
4 Star Empire Rating
No Escape
2 Star Empire Rating
Ricki And The Flash
2 Star Empire Rating
Dope
4 Star Empire Rating



5 STAR REVIEWS
Man With A Movie Camera
5 Star Empire Rating
Salt Of The Earth, The
5 Star Empire Rating
Song Of The Sea
5 Star Empire Rating
Look Of Silence, The
5 Star Empire Rating
Mad Max: Fury Road
5 Star Empire Rating

Valmont


submit to reddit


Review
Clearly overawed by the runaway success of the rival Dangerous Liaisons, the distributors of Valmont have kept us waiting almost three years before releasing their version of the Laclos novel, thus cheating us of the pleasures of immediate comparison. Making no secret of the fact that he has "freely adapted" the novel, writer Jean-Claude Carriere and Milos "Amadeus" Forman have come up with a visually mouthwatering epic treatment: beautiful, opulent, sumptuous. But is it any good? Well, yes. If readers of the novel and/or fans of the Christopher Hampton/Stephen Frears/Glenn Close/John Malkovich version have no objection to the sting being drawn from the piece and can handle a merry romp, there is much to enjoy.


The bare bones are intact: a spurned Madame de Merteuil (Bening, alarmingly modern) persuades the sexually expert and amoral Vicomte de Valmont (Firth, disconcertingly like a good-natured product of an English public school) to deflower the teenaged convent innocent Cecile (Balk, excellent) who, in turn, is in love with her young music master (Henry Thomas - remember E.T.?) to the horror of her mother (Sian Phillips).


During a lazy summer at the estate of his aunt (a wonderfully dotty performance from the late Fabia Drake) Valmont obliges, to the evident delight of his victim while, at the same time, relentlessly pursuing the morally pure Madame de Tourvel (Tilly, quite brilliant).


The tale is told with great style and evident relish, takes far too long and makes no moral point. Herein lies its major failure. Aside from the genuine grief of Tilly, whose wonderful reading of her role places her in a different film, none of the characters evoke either revulsion or pity. There is no sense that Merteuil is trapped by her intelligence, and Valmont's death is an almost casual event. The anachronistic brio which distinguishes Forman's style is in pleasurable evidence, the approach to the subject is very much his own, and it's worth seeing if you forget all about the original.




Reviewed by

Write Your Review
To write your review please login or register.


CURRENT HIGHLIGHTS
Wes Craven: Film By Film
Empire celebrates the late, great horror director

My Movie Life: Andrew Haigh
The 45 Years director on the movies that made him

Vanity Projects: The Musical Edition
A dozen more hits and misses from the rock and pop world

Inside The Martian: Empire Meets NASA
Prepare to science the shit out of it...

Deadpool: A Complete History
Empire's guide to The Merc With A Mouth, in comics and on screen

Spectre – Everything You Need To Know
Empire's essential briefing on James Bond's 24th outing

The N.W.A-Team
Empire visits the set of Straight Outta Compton

Subscribe to Empire magazine
Empire print magazine

Delivered to your door – with exclusive subscriber only covers each month! Save money today and

Subscribe now!

Subscribe to Empire iPad edition
Empire digital magazine

Exclusive and enhanced content – get instant access via your iPad or Android device! Save money today and

Subscribe now!

Subscribe now and save up to 63%
Print, Digital & Package options available Subscribe today!
Empire's Film Studies 101 Series
Everything you ever wanted to know about filmmaking but were afraid to ask...
The Empire Digital Edition
With exclusive extras, interactive features, trailers and much more! Download now
Home  |  News  |  Blogs  |  Reviews  |  Future Films  |  Features  |  Interviews  |  Images  |  Competitions  |  Forum  |  Digital Edition  |  Podcast  |  Magazine Contact Us  |  Empire FAQ  |  Subscribe To Empire  |  Register
© Bauer Consumer Media Ltd  |  Legal Info  |  Editorial Complaints  |  Privacy Policy  |  Bauer Entertainment Network
Bauer Consumer Media Ltd (company number 01176085 and registered address 1 Lincoln Court, Lincoln Road, Peterborough, England PE1 2RF)