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The Libertine 2004

Critics score:
33 / 100

Reviews provided by RottenTomatoes

Peter Debruge, Miami Herald: From time to time, a gem-like line shines from the squalor, but in general, it's merely the film's suffocating cynicism that registers. Read more

Michael Wilmington, Chicago Tribune: It's a bit too muddy, dismal-looking and smoky to beguile us, too fixated on filth and too dreary-looking to really shock us. Read more

Moira MacDonald, Seattle Times: As the character grows sicker and quieter, the drama's energy fades. Read more

Richard Roeper, Ebert & Roeper: This has got be one of the least erotic and grungiest films about hedonism ever made. Read more

Eleanor Ringel Gillespie, Atlanta Journal-Constitution: The scenes between Depp and Morton throw off sparks, but the movie as a whole needs focus, oomph. Read more

Keith Phipps, AV Club: [Director] Dunmore creates a memorably grimy London, but the moral grime covering the film proves less memorable. Read more

Bill Muller, Arizona Republic: Depp portrays Wilmot, who was also remembered for scandalous poetry and theatrical satire, as a careless and generally unpleasant fellow, who is neither funny nor profound. And we're supposed to spend two hours with this guy. Ugh. Read more

Ty Burr, Boston Globe: Stinkers this rapturously self-assured don't come along often, and when they do, they deserve to be honored with the proper giggling disbelief. Read more

Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times: With its emphasis on muddy streets, muddier language and raunchy behavior, Libertine is a trying experience. Read more

Bruce Westbrook, Houston Chronicle: Depp's depraved character does have twisted poignancy. Read more

Peter Rainer, Christian Science Monitor: The advance word on The Libertine was so bad that I was rather surprised to find it -- unterrible. Read more

Lisa Kennedy, Denver Post: Rochester may have been a cultural visionary, but the movie reduces this notion to a parable of bad-boy celebrity hitched to an uninteresting love story. Read more

Tom Long, Detroit News: Dunmore slogs through the story with an overripe sense of gravity that, when mixed with the film's carefully botched look, makes for one murky moviegoing experience. Read more

Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly: Such a torturous mess that it winds up doing something I hadn't thought possible: It renders Johnny Depp charmless. Read more

Terry Lawson, Detroit Free Press: Without context and reason to care, I never understood why I was lurking about here the first place. Read more

Philip Wuntch, Dallas Morning News: One of the few films to maintain an air of stuffiness even while sharing intimate details of debauchery. Read more

Scott Foundas, L.A. Weekly: Though Wilmot's life hardly wants for interest, screenwriter Stephen Jeffreys (adapting his own play) doesn't know where to place his emphases, giving us scattered, disconnected scenes. Read more

Jan Stuart, Newsday: A seductively entertaining, fangs-bared historical comedy. Read more

Stephen Whitty, Newark Star-Ledger: Depp has a wonderful time as the Earl, and why wouldn't he? The movie plays to his deepest boyish desires to jump into the dress-up box and emerge with a frilly shirt and one of Mom's discarded wigs. Read more

Jack Mathews, New York Daily News: ... more of a gothic horror movie than an arresting biographical drama. Read more

Roger Moore, Orlando Sentinel: A bawdy Restoration romp that doesn't. Romp. Read more

Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times: You will not like the Second Earl of Rochester. But you will not be able to take your eyes from him. Having made his bed, he does not hesitate to sleep in it. Read more

Neva Chonin, San Francisco Chronicle: The point seems to be that too much of a good thing leads to a vast sense of nothingness and bleak cinematography. Alas, it also results in transforming a film about a sensualist into a remarkably sexless enterprise. Read more

Jeff Strickler, Minneapolis Star Tribune: Depp opens the movie by looking into the camera and announcing, You will not like me now, and you will like me even less as we go on. That turns out to be true. Read more

Rick Groen, Globe and Mail: A movie that serves up what its debauched subject would never have countenanced -- sanitized smut with a moral attached. Read more

Peter Howell, Toronto Star: What emerges from the bilious murk of first-time director Laurence Dunmore's film is a sad picture of an intelligent and talented writer who opted for self-indulgence and gratuitous insult over anything more meaningful. Read more

David Fear, Time Out: The Libertine's libidinous charm makes most of its faults instantly forgivable. Read more

Leslie Felperin, Variety: An honorable misfire. Read more

Michael Atkinson, Village Voice: The cheesed-up life and times of one John Wilmot, the Second Earl of Rochester. Read more

Desson Thomson, Washington Post: We are supposed to thrill to the devil-may-care attitude of this Byronic rebel-gent, yet we never find out what he's about or what he stands for. He's a self-impressed question mark. Read more