Dangerous Liasons (1988)

Should I see it?
Yes, with caution.

This a film rich with character and fine performances. Devious French aristocrats Marquise Isabelle de Merteuil (Glenn Close) and Vicomte Sébastien de Valmont (John Malkovich) spend their time emotionally tormenting and scandalizing others. Through sex and treachery the two compete to see who is more evil, who can do the most damage on another person. When Valmont sets his sights on destroying the soon be married Cécile de Volanges (Uma Thurman) he also plots to bed the conservative Madame Marie de Tourvel. Trouble comes when Valmont falls in love with de Tourvel and his sinful plans begin to unravel. Malckovich, Pfeiffer, and Close give the best performances of their careers. Glenn Close is particularly strong in her role as deceitful and arrogant elite. There are also strong performances by a young Uma Thurman and Keanu Reeves.

Based on his play that is based on a novel, Christopher Hampton's script is intricate and literate without being stuffy. He handles the matters of sex with clever turns of the phrase and while he does get a bit bawdy he doesn't become obscene. This noted, the film deals with a large amount of sex so those sensitive to the subject should be warned. There is frank sexual activity, and nudity in the film.

This movie does a wonderful job showing how lies and cruelty can undo a person. As Valmont comes to see the path of destruction he has left in his wake, he stands as one of the best examples of remorse put to film.

Related Reviews:
John Malkovich movies
The Killing Fields (1984)
In the Line of Fire (1993)

Other Critic's Reviews:
The Washington Post
Roger Ebert

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