Cruel Intentions Reviews
There's something about this movie that makes it a "thumbs up" for me. I've seen it a couple of times on a period of ten years and have enjoyed it on both times.
I don't know if it's the manipulation or seduction between the main characters that makes this film stand. Everything starts with a bet between two rich, spoiled and good looking (can they be other than that?) school students. The social elite wants to play and no ones feelings are safe.
The cast of 'Cruel Intentions' is like a "who's who" of late 90's teen actors. Some of 'em have done a successful career (Reese Witherspoon, Sarah Michelle Gellar) and some have bombed (Joshua Jackson and Tara Reid). But my God! I like 'em all! I don't have a privileged past life or anything like that but watching these play these little yuppie bastards is lots of fun. And the actors manage to perform well, which may come as a surprise. It did to me at the first time.
'Cruel Intentions' is based on a 200 year old French novel. Stephen Frears and Milos Forman, just to name a few, have done their own adaptations 10 years before this one, which is directed by Roger Kumble. His career has been shit after this. I mean it... Shit. Just watch his filmography on this site.
The film is well written and the story develops nicely with some surprising twists. In the end, even though hearts do get broken, love will stand tall. But do they deserve to get it? 'Cruel Intentions' ends with one of the best songs ever made: Bittersweet Symphony by The Verve. That song is a reason alone to watch this film.
The whole cast is excellent here. I think it may be Sarah Michelle Gellar's best role outside of Buffy - she really is horrible as the manipulative and cruel Katherine - yet so beautiful and compelling, totally convincing that she could pull so many people into her web. Reese Wtiherspoon is just so cute here as is Selma Blair - both looking really young and vulnerable. Ryan Phillippe and Sean Patrick Thomas are also well cast.
Visually the movie is very striking. Though it is a teen film, it looks quite sophisticated and rises above what you would normally expect from this type of movie. Impressive.
Kathryn makes a bet that her step-brother, Sebastian, won't be able to bed Annette (a virgin, who wants to wait until love). If he loses, Kathryn gets his Jaguar, if he wins, he gets Kathryn.
Did the world need a teen version of "Les Liaisons Dangereuses"? Writer-director Kumble's screenplay is atrocious, veering from convoluted to mildly interesting to boring to ludicrous. Phillippe and Gellar look like little kids trying to play grown-up roles while the grown-ups (Fletcher, Kurtz, Baranski) simply look embarrassed. All the characters are uninteresting and one-dimensional. The dialog is so bad at times that it appears that Kumble is doing a spoof of the de Laclos novel except that any humor is purely unintentional. Phillippe's character is supposed to be a misguided and tragic hero or something but comes across as a confused and spoiled brat.
The reason "Cruel Intentions" is a good movie is because it's well acted. Sarah Michelle Gellar does a good job portraying the two-faced and sexy Kathryn. Reese Witherspoon does a good job of acting innocent and down to earth. And Ryan Phillippe does a good job playing as Sebastian, who can't easily make up his mind on what he should do. The story and the script are also well done for the movie.
If you like good movies with some interesting twists and an intriguing plot, I recommend getting "Cruel Intentions." NOTE: That was my Amazon review from the year 2000. Think I was just trying ot cater to the audience cause I remember I wasn't that big on this movie....after all, it never inspired me to watch the sequels.