"Staggering allure, sorrow and intelligence:" THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER reviews Johnny Depp in THE LIBERTINE

“Depp delivers riveting turn as antihero of LIBERTINE,” begins the review by Sheri Linden in THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. “Having created an indelible rogue’s gallery of lovable freaks and nonconformists, Johnny Depp ventures deep into the realm of the monstrous in the demanding film THE LIBERTINE. He delivers a haunting portrait of the 17th-century poet, provocateur and debauchee John Wilmot, second Earl of Rochester, who achieved literary acclaim only after his lingering death at 33, ravaged by syphilis and alcohol.” About Wilmot’s physical decline as the film progresses, Linden notes,”One of the achievements of director Laurence Dunmore’s insistently gritty first feature is that his protagonist, a repellent creature of rapacious sensual appetites, grows more recognizable the more physically grotesque he becomes.” Linden sees Johnny’s Wilmot as “a dark cousin” to Raoul Duke, Captain Jack Sparrow and even Willy Wonka. “Depp’s dissolute earl possesses a staggering allure, sorrow and intelligence,” she writes.

Unlike some reviews which complain about THE LIBERTINE’s stylistic choices, Linden sees “stark power” in Alexander Melman’s “grainy, candlelit cinematography” and the film’s resistance to conventional, glossy period romps. “Audiences used to being spoon-fed dazzling period regalia might feel mired in the sludge,” Linden concedes. “For those who can stick with it, the rewards are considerable.”

The Zone thanks Donna B. for posting the HOLLYWOOD REPORTER review on the Zone’s News & Views forum.

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