The Libertine

First-time director Laurence Dunmore’s period piece has all the makings of a bad film: A-list actors in long black Renaissance curls, a murky and muddled look, venereal diseases and gut-wrenching dialogue synonymous with verbal vomit. Based on a play of the same name that made its debut in London, the film stars Johnny Depp donning an all-too-familiar wig as the Earl of Rochester in 17th-century London. A drunk, womanizing sexpot, and writer of porn-filled plays and poems, the literary Casanova is commissioned by King Charles II (John Malkovich) to pen a play in between frequent trips to bordellos and flesh factories. However, the awful earl only mocks the British king and insults the royal French viewers. Meanwhile, the scorned playwright learns to love when he meets a brilliant actress (Samantha Morton). But his love is not returned—how can one love the unlovable, especially when he has syphilis, a disease that is eating away his nose causing him to wear an obvious prosthetic? This depressing trash depicts the downfall of a loathsome character in a loathsome film.

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