Archive for the ‘Oliver Parker’ Category

Eternal Portrait of Vanity and Decay

Oscar Wilde’s novella The Picture of Dorian Gray published in the summer of 1890 marked the age of aestheticism in the declining years of Victorian England. Wilde at the time of publication wrote `To become a work of art is the object of living’.

A Decaying Image but an Eternal work of Art

In Dorian Gray, the 2009 film version, Gray a wealthy aristocrat sells his soul to the Devil in exchange for eternal youth.  As the young Dorian drifts languidly into a world of debauchery, opium dens, orgies and uncompromising excess, the portrait first painted of him as a beautiful young lord soon reflects the ugliness of Dorian’s actions whilst the character retains his flawless beauty. There is an almost vampire quality to Dorian’s sordid adventures as he slowly but surely delves deeper into the darker spheres of human action from seduction, temptation and ultimately to murder, manipulating all those around him with the exception of his primary influencer Lord Henry Wotton, a brilliant performance by Colin Firth who shines in this part.

Ben Barnes who shot to fame in Prince Caspian and the 2009 film adaptation of Noel Cowards play Easy Virtue, struggles with a character as complex and compelling as Dorian Gray. Barnes portrayal whilst beautiful is bordering on flaccid and his inability to capture the fall from innocence of Dorian Gray is only illuminated by the razor sharp supporting performances of Firth and the remarkably brilliant Rebecca Hall of Vicky Christina Barcelona fame, illustrating that as an actor, Barnes is beautiful to look at but does not have the requisite skill and theatrical maturity to master a complex character like Dorian Gray.

Whilst Oliver Parker’s Victorian Gothic version of  Dorian Gray is fascinating and at times horrific to watch, it falls short as a brilliant work of cinema simply because there has never been a successful screen adaptation of Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray as the novella is as much about literary symbolism, an ironic portrayal of aestheticism as a means in itself, as it is about decrepitude and vicious narcissistic menace, even resulting in seducing the artist Basil Hallward who paints Dorian’s portrait, a wonderfully brief but vivid performance by Ben Chaplin. Jude Law who starred as the vain and spoilt Lord Alfred Douglas in the film version of Oscar Wilde’s later life, Wilde opposite a fantastic Stephen Fry in the title role, would have been a more suitable Dorian Gray as his skill as an actor would have captured the weaknesses of a character entirely devoted to his own vanity and basking in the fascination that youth, wealth and beauty can cast on an infinitely corruptible society.

Oscar Wilde – either the wallpaper or myself have to go!

Think of Jude Law’s Oscar nominated performance in Anthony Minghella’s The Talented Mr Ripley. Law would have been perfect in Dorian Gray.

For literary enthusiasts Dorian Gray is a film worth watching as a point of discussion on how life imitates art and eventually as with all lovers of aestheticism, art survives above life for art’s sake, far out living those corpses decaying in a murky grave. Images outlive the subject and the portrait however beautiful will remain eternal. For vanity and debauchery, as the Duke of Rochester so magnificently portrayed by Johnny Depp in The Libertine shows, those that yield to an abundance of temptation ultimately perish by the pursuit of their own desires.

As for what Oscar Wilde would comment on a 21st century Dorian Gray, words far exceed those merits of a celluloid image.

Film Directors & Festivals
Reviews and Awards
Review Calender
November 2020
M T W T F S S
 1
2345678
9101112131415
16171819202122
23242526272829
30  
  • Laverne Cox Details Transphobic Attack: ‘It’s Not Safe in the World’
    “Orange Is the New Black” star and LGBTQ+ advocate Laverne Cox took to Instagram on Saturday to share that she and her friend were the victims of a transphobic attack that has left her “in shock.” In an IGTV video, Cox detailed that she went for a socially-distanced walk with a friend in Los Angeles’ […]
    Variety Staff
  • Sun Bum’s Tom Rinks Buys $23 Million Del Mar Compound
    That’s a lot of chalupas! Michigan natives Tom and Brenda Rinks have forked out $23.3 million for an oceanfront compound in Del Mar, the charming coastal village that lies just north of downtown San Diego. The couple’s splurge was last year’s biggest residential real estate sale in the entire surrounding county, according to the San […]
    PMC
  • Halsey Slams Grammys Over ‘Bribes,’ Weeknd Snub
    The Thanksgiving break has done little to calm the anger over the Grammy Awards’ baffling shutout of The Weeknd and several other artists from the 2021 nominations, and on Saturday Halsey — who was herself shut out from nominations — took to Instagram to air her feelings on the issue, as have Drake, Elton John, Kid […]
    Jem Aswad
  • George Lucas, Mark Hamill and More Pay Tribute to David Prowse: ‘He Made Vader Leap Off the Page’
    After news broke Sunday morning that David Prowse — the actor behind Darth Vader’s armor in the original “Star Wars” trilogy — had died, members of the franchise came together to honor him. Prowse died on Saturday at age 85 after suffering from an illness. Though James Earl Jones voiced the famous villain in “Star […]
    Ellise Shafer
  • ‘Doctor Who’ Releases Trailer for Dalek-Filled New Year’s Day Special
    “Doctor Who” is bringing in 2021 with an action-packed New Year’s Day special titled “Revolution of the Daleks.” The trailer highlights the slew of guest stars that appear in the special, including John Barrowman, who will reprise his role as Captain Jack Harkness; Chris Noth as Jack Robertson, Dame Harriet Walker and Nathan Stewart-Jarrett. And, […]
    Ellise Shafer
  • Read More
    Different providers offer different cell phones, so take a look at the options from each provider to choose the right one for you. You may also want to look into any promotions that the providers have to offer, such as free cell phones in exchange for signing a contract. Tags: 2gmhass90