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The Libertine

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Product Details

  • Actors: Johnny Depp, Samantha Morton, John Malkovich, Paul Ritter, Stanley Townsend
  • Directors: Laurence Dunmore
  • Writers: Stephen Jeffreys
  • Producers: John Malkovich, Chase Bailey, Colin Leventhal, Daniel J.B. Taylor, Donald A. Starr
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Weinstein Company
  • DVD Release Date: July 4, 2006
  • Run Time: 114 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (204 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000F7CECK
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #36,549 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Libertine" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Commentary by director Laurence Dunmore
  • "Capturing the Libertine" making-of featurette
  • 10 deleted scenes
  • Trailer

Editorial Reviews

Oscar® nominee* Johnny Depp delivers "a tour de force performance" (Baz Bamigboye, The Daily Mail) in the "seductively entertaining" (Jan Stuart, Newsday) The Libertine. As the celebrated writer and bad boy John Wilmot, second Earl of Rochester, Depp brings to life a decadent 17th century London. There, Wilmot falls passionately in love with his aspiring actress muse (Oscar® nominee Samantha Morton**), but is cast from the heights of privileged society when he scandalizes King Charles II (Oscar® nominee John Malkovich***) with a shockingly audacious play. At the depths of ruin, the rebel seeks redemption on his own terms. "Johnny Depp is brilliant," raves Cosmopolitan, while Peter Travers of Rolling Stone calls The Libertine a "one-of-a-kind spellbinder."

Customer Reviews

Watch it only if you're an insomniac.
B. Mc Donald
Because of this same lack of light, the film has a very grainy look and all objects are drained of color imbuing a sepia tone throughout.
Critics may love this movie because of the performances, but I doubt many viewers who just want to be entertained will like it.
Ben F. Small

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

220 of 232 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on January 13, 2006
If you go into THE LIBERTINE envisioning Johnny Depp in his previous role as Captain Jack Sparrow or Willy Wonka, forget it. You won't find a similar persona here.

THE LIBERTINE is a dark film that the studio wisely decided to release only after the Christmas holiday season. In it, Depp plays John Wilmot, the second Earl of Rochester (b. 1647 - d. 1680), whose life of debauchery was a public scandal even in a society that tolerated the loose morality of King Charles II and his court. Ironically, as the film makes a point of depicting, Charles (John Malkovich) reluctantly, but regularly, banished Rochester from the royal presence for the liberties the latter took in lampooning the former's free-wheeling lifestyle.

THE LIBERTINE is a depressing affair mainly because there's nobody in it to like. Moreover, neither Wilmot nor the viewers' sensitivities are spared the ravages of tertiary syphilis, the disease that ultimately kills the Earl; the film is a great argument for the advent of penicillin. Only Rosamund Pike as Rochester's long-suffering wife may gain audience sympathy. Elizabeth Barry (Samantha Morton), the struggling actress whose career Rochester takes upon himself to further, apparently for uncharacteristically altruistic reasons, matter-of-factly accepts his help but remained unengaging to this viewer. The gloom is enhanced by a cinematography accomplished in somber, washed-out tones, particularly brown and dark green, with lots of shadows and murky candle light. Even the daylight is muted, as if in winter.

Now having said why THE LIBERTINE isn't light and airy, I have to also say that it's a powerful display of Depp's superlative talent. If the film wasn't so bleak, I'd expect a stampede to nominate Johnny for an Oscar.
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50 of 51 people found the following review helpful By Margaret on March 22, 2006
Verified Purchase
Johnny Depp's performance in this stunning film is beyond anything he has done before. You will see dimensions of his talent that will only become deeper and richer with time.

This movie casts it's spell and is difficult to leave behind. Against the Earl's best advice, I cannot help but like him.

Do not let the critics influence you about this film. See it for yourself and decide. Your time will not be wasted.
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95 of 104 people found the following review helpful By thornhillatthemovies.com VINE VOICE on March 13, 2006
England, 1675. John Wilmot (Johnny Depp), the Earl of Rochester, finds his banishment lifted by King Charles II (John Malkovich). The King banished Wilmot a few months earlier for writing a poem critical of the Monarchy, but now Charles finds himself in a predicament. After fifteen years of increased personal, sexual and artistic freedoms, the British people are now dealing with disease, warfare and natural disaster. They aren't happy and this is testing Charles' reign. Charles decides Wilmot will write a play. However, Wilmot views his return to society as license to drink as much as he wants, sleep with as many people as possible and the King be damned.

"The Libertine", directed by Laurence Dunmore and written by Stephen Jeffreys, based on his own play, is a very good film, for the most part.

The film opens with Depp in darkness and shadow, holding a wine glass, moving towards the candlelight and into our view. Wilmot informs us "You will not like me". As he continues, he announces "Ladies, I am up for it all the time." This scene is already one of the most memorable in recent film. Because it is Johnny Depp, many women (and for that matter, some men) will swoon as soon as he appears onscreen, but as he begins to warn us, he further cements our memory of this character. His frank and open manner is very memorable.

Sure enough, as the film progresses, we don't like Wilmot. It is a testament to Depp's skill as an actor that we don't really care. Depp's portrayal is interesting and challenging, both of which more than make up for the lack of a likable hero in the story. Wilmot enjoys all of the pleasures of living in society and enjoys them well.
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29 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Carol A. Chester on June 8, 2006
Format: DVD
In the Libertine, Johnny Depp plays John Wilmot Earl of Rochester a charismatic literary man on a course towards self-destruction while struggling to live within a hierarchal society trapped in the trappings of 1675 England.

I saw this in the theater, and I thought it was brilliant. Johnny Depp's characterization of John Wilmot was amazing. I would like to add, unlike most, that I found this a tightly crafted work that is a beautifully balanced ensemble. The criticisms I read in reviews elsewhere about the lighting and color are the ramblings of idiots. This film revealed the unromanticized squalor of the period.

If you have ever been at a party where there is one guy who says what everyone thinks but fears to say in case of social reprisal, you have an idea how captivating someone walking on the edge can be. You watch them like you would a train wreck. --and yes they generally are outside the box--yet still feel boxed in and the drinking and carousing or excesses are just the symptomatic combination of being utterly stiffled by hipocrisy, and repulsed by the whitewash encrusting the truth, and living in a decadent jaded age.

Don't watch the libertine if you are hoping to feel uplifted and happy. It is powerful and seductive, dark and heavy, thought provoking and disturbing, painful and hypnotic, horrifying and humanizing. You watch a man at the height of his social power lose everything. Picasso said that art is a lie that reveals the truth. I found this to be just such a work.--Maybe so was John Wilmot.
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