Quills Reviews

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Super Reviewer
½ September 22, 2011
My love for this film runs very deep indeed. As a fan of the Marquis de Sade and everything spawned after his name, as well as an advocate for the the uncensored underbelly of the literary greats, this film possessed everything someone such as myself could hope for. Moments of genuine hilarity blunted by the brutish historical truth, every single character in this film has a role to play and plays it magnificently. Rush is a superbly talented actor who never fails to keep my eyes on the screen and even Phoenix is acceptable as a preist with a naughty streak. A truly magnificent film.
Super Reviewer
September 20, 2011
With a brilliant cast I did expect more from this. I'm unsure if she was going for a some sort of style, but Winslet looked like she couldn't act. Maybe that was just her character. Rush did a fantastic job as usual. I would have liked a better explanation to the beginning part. It seemed out of place compared to the rest of the film.
Super Reviewer
May 18, 2007
An adaptation of the play based on a chapter of the life of the infamous Marquis De Sade whose lascivious writings scandalized post revolutionary France. Set within the walls of a church-run lunatic asylum where the Marquis was incarcerated to avoid the ignominy of prison, he is shown as a rebel using his literature to infuriate the religious establishment. Geoffrey Rush clearly relished the role and is ably supported by Joaquin Phoenix as the asylum's governor, a good man trapped within the framework of an intolerant heirarchy and Kate Winslett as the common serving girl who helps the Marquis distribute his works. Michael Caine is a little less convincing, probably because of his casting against type as the cruel, sadistic tyrant who is dispatched to "cure" him. It has shades of both Amadeus and The Madness Of King George, although the characterisation and drama of those films is not quite matched here, but it's an interesting and well made historical drama that's worth seeing for Rush's performance alone.
Super Reviewer
December 6, 2010
I am not one for egregious sex. When semi graphic sex/ nudity or innuendo is used in a film, I wonder if it has real value or if it's more sexy or shock and awe. However, there wasn't a moment in this film that made me think that. And I actually laughed (during the play of course). Visually beautiful, witty and inventive. Not to mention jam packed with hypocrisy. Love it. Completely gorgeous performances by every principle. As expected really.
Super Reviewer
November 17, 2006
Quills is quite an unusual film, considering the period covered and it's Erotic Literature theme. It's a bit of a strange watch, because it varies between intriguing and boring at times. The characters were really made individual and developed well. I have to say I've not watched anything to date withGeoffrey Rush that I have enjoyed, but happy to say this film is an exception.
Super Reviewer
½ August 3, 2010
One word: Debauchery. Amazing performances, true to all the ideals of the Marquis de Sade.
Super Reviewer
½ September 10, 2007
This is a really brilliant grafted and acted movie and really interesting to watch with surprising consequences and actions really worth a watch!
Super Reviewer
½ November 7, 2006
Insane, the man was insane...
Super Reviewer
April 3, 2007
Quite disturbing, and quite great.
Super Reviewer
July 25, 2007
Witty script and fine performances from all the cast make for a gripping battle of wills between societal norms and freedom of expression
Super Reviewer
July 15, 2007
I love this movie. On top of the fact that it's beautiful to look at (the actors, the sets the costumes), but the script is brilliant and full of humour and characters you care about. I love the way the traditional roles are flipped and the Marquis de Sade - a veritable boogeyman by most's accounts - is the good guy and Michael Caine as the hospital doctor is the villain. Abbe and Madeleine are kind of caught in the middle. Despite its rather tragic ending, this movie is strangely satisfying and uplifting. If I had a heart, I would hold this film close to it.
Super Reviewer
June 17, 2007
Erotic, intense and literate, Quills is a well-done cinematic treat. The performances are singularly absorbing from all the players, especially the magnificent Geoffrey Rush.

Some parts of the plot are a little heavy-handed; Quills doesn't always handle its subplots with the most subtlety or grace. The hypocrisy of characters like Michael Caine is blatant, yes, and we know we need to hate him for it. Couldn't they have been a little more discreet with all this? If you're sitting through Quills, you're probably not that much of an idiot.

This is a pretty minor complaint in light of the rest of the film, with is done superbly. Rich characters and dialogue create an incredibly immersive atmosphere, fraught with danger and ever-present menace. Geoffrey Rush is like a prototype Hannibal Lecter, except without the eating people part (though I'm sure he'd give it a try).
Super Reviewer
½ May 16, 2007
This film truly stunned me. Great performances by Winslet, Phoenix and more importantly Rush. Definitely made me look into this historical character, the Marquis De Sade. I'd like to watch it again soon.
Super Reviewer
½ August 13, 2006
A wild, very sexy and a devilishly enchanting movie. Terrifically funny, wonderfully written and tremendously entertaining. Stunning and extroadinary. Geoffrey Rush is a riveting tour-de-force. A magnificent performance. Joaquin Phoenix and Kate Winslet are a revelation. Michael Caine is brilliant. A great story. One of the best films I ever seen. The acting, writing and directing are all absolutly amazing. A superb period drama with a chilling and unforgettable effect.
Super Reviewer
½ January 5, 2007
A dark period peice that serves up a good performance from Rush doing what he does best... being creepy.
Super Reviewer
October 25, 2006
Pretty good with great performances. It starts off playful enough but eventually makes you remember that it takes place in a madhouse.
Nate Z.
Super Reviewer
½ February 23, 2006
[font=Arial][color=darkred]The good: Geofrey Rush. The bad: stay tuned...[/color][/font]

[font=Arial][color=darkred]Rush is cast as the Marquis de Sade with luscious care. Rush is a great character actor and relishes the 19th century bad boy with glee. The problem with 'Quills' is that the film portrays de Sade as nothing more than the Larry Flint of the 1800s. Rush is trapped in a crampt cell for the entire film, which plunges the film further into mediocrity. Winslet and Phoenix have fine supporting roles as first hand revelers of de Sade's dirty words. The film portrays the bad boy as a free speech martyr and explains that the reason he's locked away in an asylum is because people didn't like what he had to say. The Marquis de Sade was locked away because he liked to mutilate and torture women. Consider the history of 'Quills' in the same grain-of-salt vein of 'The Hurricane'. A little tweek here, a little tweek there. The movie even has to make de Sade a sort of hero by introducing an even meaner "bad guy" with Michael Caine. 'Quills' is long and incomprehensibly thoughtless in its history. What was the National Board of Review thinking?![/color][/font]

[font=Arial][color=darkred]Nate's Grade: C- [/color][/font]
Super Reviewer
½ May 29, 2013
There it is: another "historical" movie, good one I'll say, but with no accuracy at all! Why directors cannot at least, try to make an honest movie with things that actually happened. Don't tell me that the life of Marquis de Sade wasn't exciting enough that the screenwriters had to mix up the events and add things that never happened! The director Philip Kaufman's movie re-imagines the last years of the Marquis' incarceration in the insane asylum at Charenton... and does that really well with the help of the stars Geoffrey Rush as the Marquis de Sade, Joaquin Phoenix as the Abbé du Coulmier, Michael Caine as Dr. Royer-Collard, and Kate Winslet as laundress Madeleine "Maddie" LeClerc.

Rush was exceptional, which resulted in nominations for an Oscar and a Golden Globe. About the factual inaccuracies, writers said they were not making a biography of de Sade, but exploring issues such as censorship, pornography, sex, art, mental illness, and religion... but somehow they managed to do all that simplifying de Sade's complex life!

Overall experience was positive, and you could enjoy this R rated movie if you are ready to accept that most of it is a product of imagination, not real events.
Super Reviewer
May 4, 2013
Quills is the sort of historical period piece that is frustrating, feeling both fascinating and inaccessible. The film revolves around Marquis de Sade, a nefarious and deeply troubled aristocrat with a knack for causing controversy with his explicit writings. The film documents his relationship with a chamber maid, who helps smuggle out his writings, and the ramifications of it.

The film's take on de Sade is fascinating. It portrays a man that is relentless in his quest to spread his vile writings, with Geoffrey Rush giving a very fine performance. We see a self obsessed, driven, but certainly psychotic man. The film uses this to examine themes of expression and moral ambiguity, which I appreciated. It's also matched with equally strong performances by Kate Winslet, Joaquin Phoenix, and, above all, Michael Caine.

Where the film becomes frustrating, however, is in the supporting characters. Their actions never seem believable, and are frustratingly irrational. It's as if they are acting as they would in the mind of de Sade, without any respect to the actual context of the situation. Their character arcs don't feel organic to the events that are transpiring, making the film often disengaging and hard to watch. This is especially true of Kate Winslet's character, whose fascination with de Sade is never fully explored, and with Phoenix's character, who is simply written as an ignorant, highly emotional, and weak man. The themes the film brings up are interesting, but without other dynamic characters to compliment Rush, it's of no use.

The dramatic action of Quills never seems to culminate in anything. There's interesting points, but to no real payoff to them. Overall, there's enough here to hold your interest, with a good premise, but a frustrating execution.

3/5 Stars
Super Reviewer
July 3, 2012
Sure it is gross at times and vile and whatever else you want to be offended by but you can't avoid the great performance of Geoffrey Rush as the Marquis de Sade. Scandalous but memorable.
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