Bent

Critics Consensus

Bent juggles heavy topics with style, though its heavy-handedness at times feels more like exploitation than exploration.

73%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 22

77%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 8,168
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Movie Info

Sean Mathias directed this screen adaptation of Martin Sherman's award-winning play about the persecution of homosexuals by Nazis during World War II. In Germany, the Nazi party's program of genocide against any and all perceived "enemies" is coming into full swing when the party begins a violent purge of homosexuals in its membership. Max (Clive Owen), a bisexual playboy, is attending an orgy thrown by drag queen "Greta" (Mick Jagger) and featuring a number of party members when the festivities are raided by the police; Max and his lover Rudy (Brian Webber) escape, but they are later arrested and sentenced to a concentration camp. En route to the camp, Max betrays Rudy and arranges to be given a yellow identification star, marking him as a Jew, instead of a pink triangle, which would signify him as gay; while the Jews are destined to be executed, gay prisoners receive even more brutal treatment from the guards. While incarcerated, Max meets Horst (Lothaire Bluteau), an inmate who proudly wears the pink triangle. Max and Horst fall in love with each other, and Horst's bravery leads Max to accept his sexual identity. Bent was released in two versions; the original cut was rated NC-17 for a sequence featuring strong sexual content, while a trimmed version was granted an R.

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Cast

Ian McKellen
as Uncle Freddie
Mick Jagger
as Greta/George
Jude Law
as Stormtrooper
Suzanne Bertish
as Half-Woman, Half-Man
David Meyer
as Gestapo Man
Stefan Marling
as SS Captain
Richard Laing
as SS Guard
Johanna Kirby
as Muttering Woman
David Phelan
as Fluff in Park
Peter Stark
as Guard 1 on Train
Rupert Graves
as Officer on Train
Charlie Watts
as Guard 2 on Train
Holly Davidson
as Girl on Train
Rupert Penry-Jones
as Guard on Road
Paul Kynman
as Corporal
Paul Bettany
as Captain
Sacha Lee
as Dancer
Ben Maher
as Dancer
Nat
as Flame Throwing Man
Packer
as Happy Sad Man
Ernesto
as Leaping Man
Dorigen Hammond
as Trapeze Stuntperson
Myer Taub
as Rudy's Dresser
Rachel Weisz
as Prostitute
Mary Davidson
as Max's Friend
Sadie Frost
as Max's Friend
Lou Gish
as Max's Friend
Simon Hammerstein
as Max's Friend
Johan Johnstone
as Max's Friend
Chris Karlitz
as Max's Friend
Mark Misauer
as Max's Friend
Howard Sacks
as Max's Friend
Mandy Stone
as Max's Friend
Daisy de Villeneuve
as Max's Friend
Poppy de Villeneuve
as Max's Friend
Jan de Villeneuve
as Max's Friend
Helen Whitehouse
as Max's Friend
Zed
as Max's Friend
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Critic Reviews for Bent

All Critics (22) | Top Critics (6)

  • The screen version of Sherman's play about homosexuals in Nazi Germany shows that tyro director Mathias doesn't know much about film for his erratic approach and inconsistent style bring out the play's weaknesses, though the acting is good.

    Apr 18, 2006 | Rating: C+

    Emanuel Levy

    Variety
    Top Critic
  • Among notable players, Ian McKellen from the original play 19 years ago and Mick Jagger, who plays Berlin's reigning drag queen.

    Jan 1, 2000 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…

    Mike Clark

    USA Today
    Top Critic
  • It's easy to see why playwright Martin Sherman's 1979 Bent was such a groundbreaking theatrical achievement and almost as easy to understand why the 1997 film adaptation failed to gain the same traction.

    Jan 21, 2019 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…
  • brave, brilliantly effective movie which has the added bonus of a crinkled Mick Jagger singing in drag while swinging from a ceiling.

    Aug 19, 2003 | Full Review…
  • Tired of gay rights movies and Holocaust flicks? This is both, but it still enthralls.

    Feb 3, 2003 | Rating: 4/5
  • Stylized yet substantive drama about the plight of homosexuals in the Holocaust.

    Aug 30, 2002 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Bent

  • Feb 27, 2017
    Bent takes a look inside the concentration camp for the homosexuals and how the prisoners tried to survive in extremely harsh conditions. My only problem with Bent is the lack of sympathetic note for the characters, they partly brought their fate upon themselves, but otherwise it is a tale of courage and strength against oppression.
    Sylvester K Super Reviewer
  • Oct 27, 2012
    Strange story but powerful none the less. Ian McKellen is perfect for the role. Clive Owen gives a surprisingly strong performance, but I'm not sure he's necessarily who I would have envisioned for the role. Cinamatography is not the strongest.
    Christian C Super Reviewer
  • Dec 18, 2010
    I am sorry to be so negative about a concentration camp movie featuring gays. I really do not know what could have made the story seem relevant. It seemed to just be a movie that says lets do something about the Holocaust and add gays to it and we are sure to get an Oscar. Just too over done, over acted and overrated.
    Thomas J Super Reviewer
  • Sep 07, 2010
    Certainly well-intentioned, and definitely with some moving moments, but unfortunately this film (based on the stage play) is extremely stagey and rather tedious. Some really great acting, and a decent attempt to show the gays were among those gravely damaged by the Nazis makes it memorable, however.
    Cynthia S Super Reviewer

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