- Genre: Drama
- Details: UK/102mins 16
- Release Date: 09/03/2012
Robert Pattinson rides rings around himself in 19th Century Paris, while becoming involved in the political tomfoolery. That and a series of longing looks is what holds this uneven, forced drama together. The British heartthrob actually made this film a couple of a years ago, but it's only now seeing the light of day - never a good sign.
Pattinson is a working class Frenchman, who through a somewhat of a convenient coincidence, ends up involved with the upper end of the social hierarchy with some plush Parisians. Said Parisians are generally women, and all look at him like he's a steak. Using this to his advantage, he sets about seducing them all; mainly to get in with their husbands (apparently that worked back then), but also because he just likes having relations an awful lot.
I can see why Pattinson was attracted to this role, and it's quite probably because it's so different than anything his tween idol status has thrust him into before. But Bel Ami is basically a mess, and other than the "provocative" scenes of him and a series of attractive, mostly older women, there's very little here for him to do. The political backdrop is never explored in enough depth to give the plot anything other than a glossing of supposed context.
Pattinson has been much better in superior films, and has obviously grown as an actor since this movie went into production. But he's hamstrung by a plot that replies far too heavily on his brooding looks to succeed. Thurman obviously had a hankering to get back into a corset after having huge success with Dangerous Liaisons a couple of decades ago, while Thomas is far too classy for the whole thing. Ricci, playing the only remotely redeemable character, is the only plus performance wise.
Unlikeable characters acting in generally despicable ways has made for interesting cinema before, but this lacks the wit required to make said scenes work.
Review by Mike Sheridan | 09:00 | Friday 9th March 2012 | Movie Review
Went to see Bell Ami, what did I expect not sure, but what I got was quite boring and was actually hoping the movie would just end, no suspense or drama, film falls flat, not worth renting or going to the cinemaPosted 16:35 | Tue 13th Mar 2012
Robert Pattinson continues his attempt to break free from Twilight-style typecasting with Bel Ami, an adaptation of Guy De Maupassant's novel. He's reasonably good as the caddish social climber who sleeps his way through Parisian high society, learning all too soon that the most important people in Paris are not the men but their wives. He leaves an emotional path of destruction in his wake, as he changes the lives (for better or worse) of 3 older, married women. There's an overall air of a missed opportunity here, as the film never really takes off or leaves any real impact. Having non-English actors do plummy English accents is hard to accept when all the characters are French after all. Christina Ricci and Uma Thurman, good actresses though they are, visibly struggle with their accents. At least the dependable Kristin Scott Thomas conveys some genuine emotion. It's passable entertainment but had there been more spot-on casting and more attention paid to the confused script, it could have been a good deal better.Posted 14:16 | Wed 14th Mar 2012
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