The Libertine - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Libertine Reviews

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November 18, 2017
There are a handful of specifics I could critique, but it takes away from the fact that this film is fantastic and highly underrated. Johnny Depp's best performance.
August 18, 2016
This film is superb. Johnny Depp is brilliant in this film that is so disturbingly accurate in it's depiction of the times. His portrayal of the duke of Rochester is flawless. An intellectual so disillusioned by the world he has been born into that he feels powerless to change it and therefore he immerses himself in the depravity around him. Born to privilege and position, he becomes the confidant of the king (John Malkovich...equally superb). there is much similarity to Brando's portrayal of the loss of the best and brightest in the Vietnam War's Apocalypse Now. Depp's 'redemption' in the semi-tragic final scenes of the film is nothing short of magnificent. The costumes, the filth, the sets are spot on of world we wish had been left behind, but, sadly, is all to present in so many parts of our world. Rent it, stream it...but see it with new eyes.
July 6, 2016
Kinda curious, yeah.
June 26, 2016
Johnny Depp is fantastically grotesque in this film but it's not a very good movie.  The best part, his opening monologue:  "Allow me to be frank at the commencement. You will not like me. The gentlemen will be envious and the ladies will be repelled. You will not like me now and you will like me a good deal less as we go on. Ladies, an announcement: I am up for it, all the time. That is not a boast or an opinion, it is bone hard medical fact. I put it round you know. And you will watch me putting it round and sigh for it. Don't. It is a deal of trouble for you and you are better off watching and drawing your conclusions from a distance than you would be if I got my tarse up your petticoats. Gentlemen. Do not despair, I am up for that as well. And the same warning applies. Still your cheesy erections till I have had my say. But later when you shag - and later you will shag, I shall expect it of you and I will know if you have let me down - I wish you to shag with my homuncular image rattling in your gonads. Feel how it was for me, how it is for me and ponder. 'Was that shudder the same shudder he sensed? Did he know something more profound? Or is there some wall of wretchedness that we all batter with our heads at that shining, livelong moment. That is it. That is my prologue, nothing in rhyme, no protestations of modesty, you were not expecting that I hope."
½ July 29, 2015
Nothing in this movie is worth a watch,All over the place,hazy movie that features one of Depp's performances.
December 11, 2014
Although its dour tone might put off a lot of viewers, Johnny Depp gives an awards-worthy performance as the 2nd Earl of Rochester, John Wilmot, one of the most controversial figures in British history. The film is based on a stage play by Stephen Jeffreys and focuses on the last years of Wilmot's life as goes from being one of Britain's most celebrated poets and playwrights to practically drinking himself to death, all while being one of the most unsavory and unlikeable people I've ever seen portrayed onscreen.

I must give Johnny Depp credit because he turned in one of his finest performances. Even though his penchant for dressing up and putting on an accent in almost every movie he's done recently has reached the point of self-parody, it feels more natural and fresh here. However, the rest of the cast is no slouch either. John Malkovich gives a restrained performance as Charles II (reprising his stage role) and Samantha Morton also does well as Elizabeth Barry, an actress who Wilmot tutors then has an affair with. Also making appearances are Jack Davenport (Jack Sparrow's nemesis in Pirates of the Caribbean) as one of his friends, and Rosamund Pike as his wife, Elizabeth Malet. Obviously, now, Rosamund Pike has come into her own as an actress with GONE GIRL, but her supporting work here shows the chops she brought to that more recent role, even if she wasn't given a whole lot to do.

Still, there will be some issues with this film for some. The big one is the cinematography. I've seen it described as murky or grainy, and while that might be true to an extent, I don't really see it as a serious problem. For one, this film was shot with mostly natural light, if not all, and the lack of vibrant color is appropriate to the overall tone of the film and Wilmot's character as portrayed therein (or at least how he views life). As a libertine, he saw life as banal and went out of his way to make things more interesting for himself by being an all-around jerk and debauching all of the time. Personally, I didn't mind this either, but I can see how others might not like him, especially when he goes out of his way to make this clear to others (and the audience, at the beginning and end) just how unlikeable and how much of a cynic he is. My way into the film and his character was an icy and sardonic sense of humor, which was employed often.

Towards the end, it tries to be a little sentimental by showing his physical deterioration, and while this was still done effectively it undermined what came before it slightly. Despite my slight misgivings about the way things turn out in the final act, one of the best scenes in the entire film is in this section.

Overall, this isn't a film I'd necessarily return to, but I don't regret having watched it given how depressing it is. The score which accompanied it was decent enough and, despite what you might feel about the look of the film, it meshes well with the overall tone and Depp's performance. Just don't go in expecting him to be as cheery, optimistic or likeable as he is in almost everything else he's done.
½ July 26, 2014
A powerhouse performance by Johnny Depp as one of the most obsessively self-destructive men of genius ever. The script incorporates many of Rochester's witty verses. An absorbing film.
July 25, 2014
Next to Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, this is one of Johnny Depp's best performances. The rest of the film feels a tad muddled, but the power and presence of Depp's character is unforgettable.
½ April 9, 2014
A man who lives for pleasure finds his hedonism betrays him in time in this film adaptation of the play by Stephen Jeffreys. The second Earl of Rochester, John Wilmot (Johnny Depp), was a notorious figure in 17th century Europe; well-respected as a poet and author, Wilmot also earned no small degree of gossip for his freewheeling sex life and appetite for decadence. This movie has a grey and ugly look to it which is a good thing because you see how London was back then.
March 20, 2014
Compelling and beautifully acted.
December 23, 2013
I like the way the movie is shot its like a renaissance painting but the film is disjointed it gets better in the second half of the film. The performances are very good especially Depp very spirited, it just more depth to the screen play
December 13, 2013
Johnny Depp does everything he can to produce a great film, but with horrible cinematography and lackluster support from the rest of the cast, The Libertine falls short of its high potential. Cinematography gets blurry at times of importance and produces an annoying inconsistency throughout.
November 3, 2013
People didn't like this movie, but he played the character perfectly, he was an ass in real life.
October 23, 2013
Pathetic reviews of a memorable film. Great acting and script, in my opinion Depps finest performance.
September 12, 2013
Fantastic performance by Johnny Depp.
August 6, 2013
The directorial debut of music video and advert director Laurence Dunmore, who had become one of Ridley Scott's proteges at his advert company, it was this level of success that enabled him to get his own films made, and he got lucky with this adaptation of Stephen Jeffreys' play of the same name, which he adapted here for the screen. It's got a good cast, but it's a very dark and murky film, and it'll leave you feeling unclean. It's that kind of film. During the time of Restoration in the 1660's, King Charles II (John Malkovich) was humiliated by his friend John Wilmot, 2nd Earl of Rochester (Johnny Depp), but the King calls upon Wilmot after being apart 3 months, all because the King is bored. Back in London, Wilmot reunites with his "Merry Gang", which include George Etherege (Tom Hollander) and Charles Sackville (Johnny Vegas), where they continue their bawdy ways. The King requests that Wilmot writes a play for the French Ambassador, but Wilmot finds himself besotted with actress Elizabeth Barry (Samantha Morton), who inspires him with this play. It's a very lurid film, but Depp relishes the part of Wilmot, who was worse than what this film allegedly portrays, but it does struggle to hold the attention for it's running time, but it has good intentions, and it shows period films don't have to be stiff upper lips and good manners.
Super Reviewer
½ July 12, 2013
A raw and ugly tale of debauchery, The Libertine tries to be offensive...and succeeds. The story follows famed writer John Wilmot, Earl of Rochester, as his decadent lifestyle consumes him. Johnny Depp, Rosamund Pike, and John Malkovich lead the cast and give strong performances, but the characters are largely one-dimensional. Additionally, the cinematography is especially poor; giving the film a drab and grainy look. The Libertine is a bleak and morose film that fails to capture the fascination with John Wilmot.
June 10, 2013
looks like every other film from this era.
½ May 31, 2013
Well what to say about this. I loved it! such a good cast and a great film overall not sure about the interesting takes on things lol the plays but if that was his life then it must go in the film. and another thing, after all of that yes i do like you now i always have and always will Mr Depp lol how could you not!!!! so yer great film, one to watch.
½ April 12, 2013
The film defies accepted historical fact. John Wilmot died a Christian asking God to forgive him of his sins in his last days, but the screen does not show that. This is Malkovich's little project attempting to re-shape Wilmot into a positive icon of decadent behavior. Too bad Malkovich doesn't give the rest of the story--a half-truth is as good as a lie.
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