Blu-ray Review – Bel Ami
Director duo Declan Donnellan and Nick Ormerod’s costume drama featuring the likes of Robert Pattinson and Uma Thurman hits Blu-ray & DVD in UK. Here are tom’s views on this sordid tale of debauchery in 19th Century Paris.
Based on the novel by Guy de Maupassant, Bel Ami is a sizzling love triangle set around a soldier who returns from war to seek his standing in 19th Century Paris and begins to rise up the ranks of society following an encounter with an old friend. Thrust into the world of journalism with an apparent lack of skill and experience, Georges Duroy (Robert Pattinson) relies on the assistance of his friend’s wife to keep him afloat in a cut-throat industry. Temptation rears its head and Duroy is soon drawn into a web of deceit that revolves around his lust for women and ambition to succeed.
Best known for his pallid performance in the Twilight series, Robert Pattinson has since been attempting to distance himself from the stigma attached to the teen-friendly franchise, and his recent appearances in Water for Elephants and Cosmopolis were not without merit. His persistent gurning and grimacing in Bel Ami does drag but there are moments where he shines as the dangerously promiscuous and ambitiously manipulative Georges Duroy whose passion for women is equalled only by his desire for an easy life. Pattinson proves that he is more than just a teen heart-throb although the naysayers are unlikely to reconsider their views until he delivers a more refined performance.
Duroy’s various love interests played by Uma Thurman, Christina Ricci and Kristin-Scott Thomas are all swept away by his delectable charm despite sharing the same social circle. While Pattison dominates their hearts, these actresses dominate the screen with their sumptous and elegant portrayals of women who enjoy the finer things in life. Thurman and Ricci in particular are perfectly suited to their roles as demanding distractions who occupy Duroy’s thoughts and dabble in debauchery with the heart-throb who enters their lives. The deceitful Duroy befriends the husbands of these woman he enters into affairs with in order to increase his social standing, completely unaware that he is not the only person playing games in a story charged with sexual politics.
When there are stigmas attached to certain actors it is often difficult to put these aside but if the much maligned Adam Sandler (a man I struggle to watch for more than five minutes) can almost move me to tears with his performance in Punch-Drunk Love then anything is possible. Don’t let the prospect of watching Pattinson pout his way through a costume drama put you off, Bel Ami is far from perfect but is a perfectly enjoyable ensemble piece comprised of great performances even if a little disjointed in places.
About The Author – Tom Bielby
Long time film fan and aspiring film writer, Tom is a horror fanatic who wasted far too much time at University sitting through every film in the IMDB Top 250. He is partial to foreign films and cult cinema and would love to rid the world of people who rustle their popcorn during important scenes. He can be found on Twitter under the alias @filmbantha
Are you a fan of costume dramas? Are you looking forward to watching Bel Ami? Please share your thoughts below…