Sunday, 13 September 2009

Film Review: DORIAN GRAY (2009)

Director: Oliver Parker
Running time: 112 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 15

Watched at the cinema Saturday 12th September 2009.


This is not the kind of film I’d usually go to the cinema to watch; despite this I quite enjoyed it. It was quite a straight forward story which benefited from some great performances, good direction and some really good production. Filmed in England, I thought the locations helped the story, although I found it slightly lacking in a couple of areas which I’ll expand on later. For now, here’s a summary of the plot.

Based on a story by Oscar Wilde, this film tells of a young man whose soul is captured in a painting after selling it to the devil for eternal youth and beauty. As a result he discovers that whatever he does in life, he cannot be injured or show any sign of ageing. Instead, the painting decays and rots with every foul deed he commits. He is lead down a path of depravity by Lord Henry Wotton, an acquaintance of his grandfather who had recently died and left him a fortune. As time passes and everybody ages except Dorian, people become suspicious that he is more than he appears to be.

As I said at the beginning, I found the film lacked in a couple of areas. Firstly, I don’t think we knew enough about the main character, yes, we are told that he was beaten by his grandfather, but apart from that we know very little about his background. Secondly, I felt that with it having a 15 Certificate, it very much limited the depth of depravity the main character lowered himself to. With an 18 Certificate, there could have been a little more ‘edge’ to it. A decent performance from Ben Barnes as Dorian Gray but I have to say I most enjoyed the performance of Colin Firth as Lord Henry Wotton. Honourable mentions go to Rachel Hurd-Wood as Sybil Vane, Rebecca Hall as Emily Wotton, Emilia Fox as Lady Victoria Wotton and Ben Chaplin as Basil Hallward. Over all, a decent enough film that could have been better.

My score: 6.5/10

IMDb Site:

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