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Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 19.27%
Just Average: 16.51%
Pretty Crappy: 12.84%
Sucks: 3.67%

10 reviews, 49 user ratings

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by Charles Tatum

"Sadistic Streak"
5 stars

The Marquis de Sade has been portrayed on film before, but never this well. Geoffrey Rush is riveting, making him both compelling and disgusting at the same time. A lesser actor would have turned de Sade's scenes into "moments" that could be safely played during an Oscar telecast, but Rush is fantastic.

The Marquis smuggles his writings out of the insane asylum he is in through a laundress, played by Kate Winslet. She is under the tutorship of the young priest Joaquin Phoenix. Phoenix is trying to help the insane by getting them involved in the arts, and the Marquis is writing popular pornography for the French masses. Napoleon gets in a flutter, and sends the harsh doctor Michael Caine to the asylum. Caine himself has problems as he has just gone through on an arranged marriage with a young teenage girl just out of the convent.

The new bride gets a hold of de Sade's work and eventually runs off with her chateau's architect...de Sade, an outspoken atheist, must find other ways of continuing his writing, and does in some very horrific manners.

There is not really a plot here, as the Marquis' privileges are eventually taken away to the point that he is nude in his emptied cell, and still finds time to butt heads with Caine, and God.

Rush is spellbinding, to use a cliche. Joaquin Phoenix is terrific as the young priest. He fights against temptation as well as any clergyman put on screen. Michael Caine gets back into the kind of juicy roles he used to get twenty years ago. Winslet is great as the laundress.

What Philip Kaufman seems to be saying with this film is that words can and do corrupt, but they corrupt the corruptible. The Marquis' literature has negative effects on the uneducated in the film (the inmates, the asylum's illiterate employees, and the naive teen bride), and when put into context of one's life, words alone will not make one kill or fornicate. The feelings, good or bad, are there already, and the Marquis will not change that. It always angers me when some parents' group or clergyman blames the world's problems on Eminem or "American Pie." Impossible to patrol your children twenty four hours a day, you say? Then educate them so they know these words, the music, and the art are just that. Turn the TV off and read to them. If it is rated (R) and the kids are under 17, maybe they should not watch it.

I strayed off the topic a bit, but "Quills" is an important film that should keep people talking about art, censorship, obsession, love, sex, religion, and madness.

link directly to this review at https://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=1768&reviewer=325
originally posted: 02/27/03 17:04:57
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User Comments

9/08/08 Arcane An original story - though a bit boring. Phoenix is excellent as usual. 3 stars
3/10/07 Roy F. Moore The Marquis DeSade as the good guy? Are they nuts? Flee this drivel. 1 stars
2/02/04 Gabriela Great movie. Amazing cast. 5 stars
10/01/03 Mopsa Funny and heartbreaking and incredibly brave. Terrific cast 5 stars
9/16/03 Pinkline Jones The user woke me up 2 stars
8/04/03 punjab pure aldrated horseshit! 1 stars
5/18/03 Ventana Racy and Raunchy, but a lot of FUN. Acting is superb! 5 stars
4/07/03 Mystique Very good acting! 5 stars
2/21/03 Blabity blah complete drivel. Misuse of talented actors. Crap Script. 1 stars
12/31/02 Jack Sommersby A simplistic dumbing-down of a controversial topic by a myopic Lefty. 1 stars
12/28/02 grardo just great 5 stars
7/27/02 AgentDS What a delictable morsel of decadently delicious cinema! 5 stars
4/25/02 Charles Tatum Rush is great and Winslet is sexy 5 stars
4/23/02 Danielle Ophelia Both delicious and disturbing--haunting, multidimensional, witty and acerbic. 5 stars
2/08/02 John Linton Roberson Lovely(both set & Winslet)but ultimately too cutesy. 3 stars
1/16/02 Piz an acting clinic for the ages thats strange, funny, and engaging 4 stars
1/01/02 Duke Disturbing yet brilliant....the dvd writer's commentary is necessary to understand the film 5 stars
12/14/01 Butterbean A disturbing picture with an ending that would piss you off 4 stars
12/12/01 Dominik Duprelle Intelligent, caustic black comedy/drama with a wicked sense of fun-enjoy it! 5 stars
11/26/01 Hum interesting 4 stars
10/21/01 Tam Beautiful and haunting. Dark and witty by turns, with superb performances. 5 stars
6/16/01 artpaws An artist for today! unsavory, anti-social, of abysmal quality: spokesman for free speech 4 stars
6/12/01 Jennifer I was speechless 4 stars
6/10/01 Matt M Disturbing but ravishing 4 stars
6/08/01 *~Danielle*Ophelia~* (formerly KyLe*BrOfLoVsKi) Wow... 5 stars
6/03/01 Basil Excellent movie. 5 stars
5/25/01 nanci Joaquin Phoenix is absolutely spell-binding; a masterpiece 5 stars
5/14/01 The Bomb 69 not your typical hollywood ending, I loved it!!! 5 stars
5/14/01 othree I actually enjoyed it, had heard horrific comments, Rush, Marquis De Sade was wonderful 4 stars
5/06/01 Mitja Podgajski I love this movie.. 4 stars
4/18/01 Tam Disturbing and beautiful. No cliches. Rush should have won that Best Actor Oscar. 5 stars
3/28/01 viking Overlong and sordid 3 stars
3/20/01 jo.ilie@excite.com Great movie about freedom of expression! 5 stars
3/14/01 Lady Disdain Strong and Entertaining; Winslet and Phoenix are phenomenal 5 stars
3/03/01 matthew smith Geoffrey rush is superb 5 stars
2/20/01 Rocket Boy Less than some of Kaufman's other works, but Rush was wonderful. 3 stars
2/12/01 LAZY Simplistic, inaccurate, disgusting. Does historical context matter to anyone? 3 stars
2/07/01 Johnny Figaro Caine was better in Muppet XMas Carol. Overwrought and overrated 2 stars
2/05/01 Matthew Bartley Terrific.Kind of a medevial One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest 5 stars
1/15/01 bats beautiful and disturbing like a train wreck...you can't stop watching. 4 stars
1/11/01 Lisa P I loved the chances this movie took...the content was and still is highly controversial. 5 stars
1/06/01 bison it was great. 5 stars
1/02/01 insectk kicks boocoo ass 5 stars
1/01/01 Jennifer Phelps Incredible movie! 5 stars
12/24/00 Jenny-My-Fur incredible, possibly one of the best movies of the year, fan-fucking-tastic 5 stars
12/17/00 tnt great performances......but a sleeper nonetheless 3 stars
12/08/00 Boy In The Designer Bubble Man, those wig wearing brothers could cop the honies. 5 stars
12/04/00 Artist Freak Un freaking real. My favorite movie in a long, long time. 5 stars
11/28/00 Heather One of the year's best, great acting, thought provoking re: hypocrisy & free speech 5 stars
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  25-Dec-2000 (R)
  DVD: 08-May-2001


  01-Mar-2001 (M)

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