Nick's Review of Quills
"Quills" is maybe the first movie in a while I think I like more because of its cluttered handling of big ideas, all the riskier because, if wrongly dealt with, could easily be writ off as towing a tawdry gimmick. All right, you got me, that's bullshit even I can smell a mile away. It's the sort of thing you'll either love because it's a period piece that's also wildly entertaining, or hate because narratively and thematically it's a mess of ambition that keeps pulling out and kidding around when you wish it would go deeper.
And those themes read like characters from a Pynchon novel -- tests of faith, hypocrisy of society, positive and negative influences of literature, suffering, the Catholic church, the scrutiny of creating under pressure. ART. And on top of that there's the glorious Geoffrey Rush as the Marquis de Sade, a fucked-up boundary pusher so over-the-top gross he's like a gag run into the ground so many times that circles back and becomes deliriously funny again. "Quills" isn't a perfect movie, but it throws so much out there it's hard not to connect with SOMETHING. Because even centuries ago words had the power to hit us where we live.