HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Wandering Earth, The
Good Fairy, The
Killer Party
Holmes & Watson
Monster in the Closet
Sand, The
Glass
My Brilliant Career
Knife for the Ladies, A
Man in the Attic
Destroyer
Fillmore
Bumblebee
No Kidding
Honkytonk Man
Woman in the Window, The
Shed of the Dead
Dead Easy
Tucked
Widows
Last Movie Star, The
Death Game
Juliet, Naked
November
Arcadia
Sugar Hill
House with the Clock in Its Walls, The
Devil Thumbs a Ride, The
Suspiria
Secret People
Spy Who Dumped Me, The
Beautiful Stranger
House That Jack Built, The
Undercover
White Chamber
R.P.M.
Summer of 84
On Secret Service
Survive!
My Sister Eileen
   
 
Newest Articles
Outer Space and Outta Sight: Gonks Go Beat on Blu-ray
Tucked: The Derren Nesbitt Interview
Locomotion Pictures: The Best of British Transport Films on Blu-ray
Roman Scandals: Extreme Visions from Ancient Rome
Spider-Wrong and Spider-Right: The Dragon's Challenge and Into the Spider-Verse
Monster Dog: Cujo on Blu-ray
For Christ's Sake: Jesus Christ Superstar and The Last Temptation of Christ
Not In Front of the Children: Inappropriate Kids Movies
Deeper into Ozploitation: Next of Kin and Fair Game
Between the Wars: Babylon Berlin Series 1&2 on DVD
Hard Luck Story: Detour on Blu-ray
Oh, What Happened to You? The Likely Lads on Blu-ray
Killer Apps: The Rise of the Evil 60s Supercomputers
How 1970s Can You Get? Cliff Richard in Take Me High vs Never Too Young to Rock
A Perfect Engine, An Eating Machine: The Jaws Series
   
 
  Quills You Dirty Old ManBuy this film here.
Year: 2000
Director: Philip Kaufman
Stars: Geoffrey Rush, Kate Winslet, Joaquin Phoenix, Michael Caine, Billie Whitelaw, Patrick Malahide, Amelia Warner, Jane Menelaus, Stephen Moyer, Tony Pritchard, Michael Jenn, George Yiasoumi, Stephen Marcus, Elizabeth Berrington, Edward Tudor-Pole, Ron Cook
Genre: Horror, Drama, Romance, Historical
Rating:  6 (from 4 votes)
Review: Some years after the French Revolution, the Marquis de Sade (Geoffrey Rush), a notorious writer of scandalous prose, is held captive in the Charenton mental asylum. Yet his books and pamphlets still manage to reach the public thanks to the maid Madeleine (Kate Winslet), who smuggles out the manuscripts under cover of taking his sheets every morning to be cleaned. When word of the Marquis' works reaches Emperor Napoleon (Ron Cook) he demands that someone put a stop to it, so a new doctor is sent to Charenton, Doctor Royer-Collard (Michael Caine), a more conservative man than the current head of the asylum, Abbe du Coulmier (Joaquin Phoenix), and the stage is set for tragic conflict...

A rather unhistorical version of the last days of the Marquis de Sade, Quills was scripted by Doug Wright, adapting his own play for the screen. In its opening it resembles a Carry On de Sade-style bawdy romp, with Rush offering us his best Sid James by way of Basil Brush, as if to say he was a wicked man, but a cheeky scamp really. Yet the puritanism of the theme soon takes over, with the effects of the Marquis' perversities spelling doom for any who cross his path, as if this were more like a Hammer horror movie. The actors perform with gusto and its fun to see this cast spar with each other, but the final message is a muddle.

The Doctor is unimpressed with the Abbe's liberal ways, and means to crack down on his inmates - we know he's a bad sort when we see him using a ducking stool as a cure for madness, which is in actuality a punishment for the afflicted. If the Marquis represents freedom of speech, which includes freedom to publish as much pornography as he pleases, then the Doctor represents the anti-pornography brigade, with a large helping of the religious right in his character. And naturally, we see the sixty-something Doctor is a hypocrite when he takes a teenage bride and forces himself on her, keeping her imprisoned in a lavish palace - no one has an unblemished character in Quills.

When news of this reaches the de Sade, he is delighted, and changes the play he and the inmates are putting on under his direction to a thinly veiled parody of the doctor's marriage, making a true enemy in the process. But while the play is being performed, Madeleine is nearly raped by a brutish inmate, a heavy handed way of showing that too much liberty can have dangerous consequences. The set up is fairly mechanical, with the three men representing three differing views, the Marquis, the Abbe and the Doctor, bumping heads much as you'd expect, so that by the halfway mark you're wondering whether the film has anywhere left to go.

It has, of course: downwards. The Marquis is stripped of his privileges, but still gets out a new manuscript by writing in wine with a wishbone on his bedsheets, which Madeleine dutifully copies and sends off to the printers. When the Doctor finds out, the Marquis is left with absolutely nothing in his cell so he writes in blood on his clothes (must have been a short book), so has his clothes taken away. Eventually, his obsession with self-expression and determined decadence means that other inmates are corrupted, and Madeleine is whipped for her involvement, much to the Abbe's dismay, who secretly loves her for her supposed purity. After apparently taking the Marquis' side as he exposes the limitations of society with his subversion, the film implies that very subversion is the cause of melodramatic death and destruction so you're left wondering if we're supposed to admire him or loathe him. This confusion is the film's undoing and finally doesn't convince either way. Music by Stephen Warbeck.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 3991 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 

Philip Kaufman  (1936 - )

Level-headed American writer and director who doesn't shy away from challenging material; after award-winning debut Goldstein, he offered superhero spoof Fearless Frank, but it was five years until his movie career really got off the ground. The Great Northfield Minnesota Raid was followed by The White Dawn and the script for The Outlaw Josey Wales, and a remake of Invasion of the Bodysnatchers was his first big hit. Then came The Wanderers, The Right Stuff, The Unbearable Lightness of Being, the controversial Henry & June, Rising Sun, Marquis de Sade drama Quills and thriller Twisted. He also contributed to the story of Raiders of the Lost Ark; considering his talent, it's surprising how few films he has directed.

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star do you think makes the best coffee?
Emma Stone
Anna Kendrick
Michelle Rodriguez
Sir Patrick Stewart
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
  Rachel Franke
Graeme Clark
Andrew Pragasam
Enoch Sneed
  Derrick Smith
Paul Shrimpton
Darren Jones
George White
   

 

Last Updated: