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The Dying Gaul

31 customer reviews

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(Mar 21, 2006)
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Editorial Reviews

Patricia Clarkson (Good Night and Good Luck, Miracle, The Green Mile), Peter Sarsgaard (Shattered Glass, Key, Kinsey, Garden State) and Campbell Scott (The Exorcism of Emily Rose, Saint Ralph) star in this critically acclaimed tale of lust, power, corruption, betrayal and revenge set in the seductive world of the Hollywood elite. Robert Sandrich, a fledgling screenwriter (Sarsgaard) who has been living on the fringes, finds his life changed when he is offered a million dollars for his latest and most personal work -- The Dying Gaul, a raw, autobiographical story of the death of his lover. There is one catch -- the studio demands that Robert change his dead lover's character to a woman to make the story more commercially viable. Making the offer is Jeffrey (Scott), a smooth, ruthless and sexually avaricious studio executive who seduces Robert with the intoxicating Hollywood cocktail of power, money and sex. When Robert confides to Jeffrey's wife, Elaine (Clarkson) that he finds sol

Special Features

  • Deleted  scenes
  • Alternate ending

Product Details

  • Actors: Robin Bartlett, Patricia Clarkson, Peter Sarsgaard, Campbell Scott
  • Directors: Craig Lucas
  • Producers: Campbell Scott, David Newman, George VanBuskirk, Lisa Zimble
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 encoding (US and Canada only)
    Some Region 1 DVDs may contain Regional Coding Enhancement (RCE). Some, but not all, of our international customers have had problems playing these enhanced discs on what are called "region-free" DVD players. For more information on RCE, click .
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: March 21, 2006
  • Run Time: 95 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000E3L7E6
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #42,887 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Dying Gaul" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

29 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Laurie Eckhout on February 12, 2006
Format: DVD
I managed to get a "For Review Only" dvd of this movie. My initial interest in it was because Peter Sarsgaard was part of the ensemble. Anything he does will at least merit a stellar performance from him. Best case scenario is that the other players also live up to his standards. In "The Dying Gaul" Clarkson, Scott and Sarsgaard are equally matched in talent. They inhabit these characters so well it gives the sometimes 'unbelievable' storyline enough validity to allow the viewer to want to accept the circumstances, so you can follow the maze of their deeds to the finale without cynicism. It works. You eventually get to see these characters in a raw state, emotionally skewered and acting out in ways that don't happen in 'normal' circumstances. Sarsgaard especially is delightful to watch in his metamorphosis. His is the most emotive part. A big change from his understated role in "Shattered Glass." Scott's character has lived with part of himself hidden away all his life and Clarkson's character must hide the story defining secret she accidently stumbles upon, for most of the movie.

The odd title (Dying Gaul) is well explained at the beginning and has a broader role overall in the movie than at first glance. Pay close attention to the description of the sculpture it refers to. I think it ends up explaining Lucas' empathy for his characters at their best and at their worst.

Something I don't recall reading in any reviews of this movie is that at the end it seems as if Scott's character ends up eerily striking about the same pose as the Dying Gaul sculpture. Another thing to look for.

This is an interesting story and the visuals are great. What really seals the deal on this film overall is the excellent actors. Just to see those three in action is worth the price of admission.


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A trio of superb performances ignites writer-director Craig Lucas's 2005 bludgeoning psychological thriller set in the deal-making, Machiavellian world of Hollywood filmmaking circa 1995. The plot focuses on an unconventional triangle - Robert is a young screenwriter who gets summoned to a meeting with Jeffrey, a powerful studio executive, who is very interested in adapting Robert's script into a movie. There's one catch - the script is a tribute to Robert's partner, who died recently of AIDS after going through painful medical treatments, and Jeffrey wants to change the story to a heterosexual love story to assure the movie has wider commercial appeal. With an offer of a million dollars upfront for the script, Robert begrudgingly accepts the change, but then he meets Jeffrey's wife, Elaine, who becomes drawn to Robert through his deeply felt script. Her attraction is platonic but increasingly obsessive. At the same time, Robert and Jeffrey become lovers, and the plot dives headlong into intriguing twists relating to Internet chat rooms and layering deceptions that lead to a fatalistic conclusion.

Once again proving to be one of our most audacious actors, Peter Sarsgaard brings a fearlessly fey quality to Robert that allows his character to harden as the encroaching deceptions envelop him. Looking very much the part of the patrician, artistically frustrated Hollywood wife, Patricia Clarkson gives her typically sharp, insightful performance as Elaine especially as her efforts to manipulate Robert backfire into her own unfolding, painful situation. What she does very well is show the vulnerability of her character regardless of her misogynistic intentions. With his stentorian voice used in an ideal context, Campbell Scott finally shows some of the fire of his late parents (George C.
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Format: DVD
THE DYING GAUL, written and directed by Craig Lucas (writing credits include 'Longtime Companion', 'Prelude to a Kiss', 'Reckless') is a brilliant little film that stirred comment and appreciation during its unfortunately very brief run in the theaters (as one of the film's characters comments "Most Americans hate gay people. If they hear it's about gay people, they won't go.") And this in a year when films such as 'Brokeback Mountain', 'Transamerica', and 'Capote' drew focus. As the oft used phrase states, 'Go figure'.

The story is a bizarre triangle of interaction among three very bright, enlightened, yet passionately isolated people whose coming together is the stuff of tragedy on the grand scale. Robert Sandrich (Peter Sarsgaard) is a grieving screenwriter (his lover recently died from complications of AIDS in a manner secretly gnawing at Robert). His most recent screenplay 'The Dying Gaul' about a gay couple - one with AIDS - is a tribute to his lover, and while it is a brilliant script and is taken on by a top film producer Jeffrey Tishop (Campbell Scott), Jeffrey offers to buy the script for a million dollars IF Robert re-writes the script to make the couple a heterosexual one (see above for his reason). Robert at first refuses to 'sell out' but eventually gives in and does the re-write. Jeffrey is married to a very bright ex-screenwriter Elaine (Patricia Clarkson) who reads Robert's script, loves the original and becomes so obsessed with the script and with Robert that she plunges into an investigation of Robert's life. Compounding the intrigue is the fact that Jeffrey begins to fall in love with Robert and Robert is so needy emotionally that he responds: the two become lovers.
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