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Bel Ami review


Based on the novel by Guy de Maupassant first appearing in 1903, the story of Bel Ami has being brought to life before. First in a 1939 movie, then a 2005 French/Belgian television version, and most recently as both a stage play and musical. A dark tale of lust for the flesh and for power set in 1980's Paris, This latest version stars Robert Pattinson as the titular Bel Ami, a nickname given to penniless soldier Georges Duroy. Sick of living a life of poverty, Duroy pursues a career as a journalist and finds himself thrust into the world of high society. Mentored by Madame Forestier (Uma Thurman) , and through manipulating a number of wives of influential man, he becomes a member of the elite. But his pursuit for more wealth and power threatens what he already has.

The first thing that struck me is that this is decidedly more adult fare than we are used to from Pattinson. He does a reasonable job of playing an amoral manipulator and opportunist, showing there is more to him than the Twilight Saga. Though at times he does fall into Edward Cullen mode, overly pained facial expressions and copious amounts of gulping. It's extremely hard to like Duroy, which I guess is the point, especially with his treatment of Christina Ricci's Clotilde, who continues to come back to the scoundrel time and time again. The other actors deliver exactly what you expect from them, with Colm Meany his usual blustery self, and Thurman having fun as the just as manipulative Forestier.

The story moves along at a nice pace, though sometimes it feels that certain story points are missing, as certain events happen seemingly for the sake of it. It's a story we have seen elements of hundreds of times before, but it is well acted and has strong direction from Declan Donellan and Nick Ormerod. It has be called the "Dangerous Liaisons for this generation". While not as good, it does try it's best to come close.

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The Movie Bit: Bel Ami review
Bel Ami review
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