03 February 2011

OMENS: Quills


Starring Geoffrey Rush, Kate Winslet, Joaquin Phoenix, Michael Caine. Written by Doug Wright. Directed by Philip Kaufman. Release: 22 November 2000. FOX, 124 mins., Rated R

Plot: Provocative writer Marquis de Sade is demanded to stop writing, and a outraged Doctor Royer-Collard is tasked to ensure it happens, but a laundress, Maddy, is so moved by the Marquis writing she smuggles it through the insane asylum he's locked up in.

The written word is perhaps one of the most powerful things in the universe. Well, next to The Doctor (anyone catch that?). If the writer is gifted enough, passionate enough, than with words he or she can emotionally move a reader, can inspire them, can assist them, can excite frenzy and chaos, and can be a call to arms or a call of peace. QUILLS is very much a film about writing as much as it is about people, and the mental and physical fallout from the pen of Marquis de Sade.

Co-workers and friends consistently recommended this movie to be, and I wasn’t exactly keen to do so. However, this experiment was the perfect opportunity for me to just do it – no excuses. Bloody glad I did. It’s a powerful movie, and definitely one I will remember even in the midst of these other titles.

The movie opens with an execution so exquisitely filmed and edited, you feel like you’re there, in the crowd watching as they cheer on the death of this young lady. And then we’re introduced to Marquis de Sade (Rush), a man oozing out charisma out of every orifice of his body. Compelled to write no matter the cost and charming enough not only in person but through the written word, words that reaches the souls of women and disgusts the rules of men, the Marquis is a man who demands your attention, and Rush delivers a performance as such. Michael Caine personifies a ruthless man governed by rules and order and tradition, and his role is so juicy and wicked Caine’s work is so completely memorable. Joaquin Phoenix is the asylum’s abbot, and perhaps the most torn character in the film. His allegiance to God and the people in his charge, he nonetheless is confronted with his own personal demons and desires that twist and tear at him. The entire movie escalates to a crescendo of insanity as tragedy hits all – well, most – of the characters. Truthfully, through the first hour, I was sort of lost on what the plot was exactly about, but the undeniable fact was that I couldn’t tear my eyes away. This is one compelling film, where all the elements come together to create something so clean and great and memorable. I’m going to remember Geoffrey Rush physically and figuratively naked when he is presented with no other way to write; I’m going to remember the heartbreaking finale and the messed up sex scene in the asylum; I’m going to remember the opening shot; and I’m going to remember how bloody thankful I am to live in the times I do now where the likelihood of being put to death for something I right isn’t super high.

Powerful performances, witty script, fast paced, riveting to watch. I dug QUILLS, and am not looking forward to telling my co-workers they were right, and my three-year long procrastination to watch the film was unjustified.

Netflix Rating: Really Liked It

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