Dangerous Liaisons
Filmfest 2009

Chordelos de Laclos' 1782 novel of sexual power games was a stage hit before Frears picked it up, reproducing the pre-revolutionary French setting in decadent, lavish detail. Former lovers, the rakish Vicomte de Valmont and the Marquise de Merteuil, continually indulge each other in feats of manipulative infamy. The Marquise challenges Valmont to deflower the virginal Uma Thurman before her marriage to Merteuil's former lover (Keanu Reeves). He finds this too easy and decides to seduce the virtuous Madame de Tourvel. Malkovich, underrated as ever, plays the Vicomte as a sly, suave sexual predator, backed by the calculating Close, the puppeteer and overseer of all his actions. The compelling aspect of this film is two Machiavellian main characters and their ultimate downfall. They use and abuse indiscriminately, and it is not until the end when, in one of the most thrilling climaxes ever, we see their fragile and insecure side. Andrew Hesketh, Edinburgh University Film Society

tags: Feature film

Cast: Glenn Close, John Malkovich, Michelle Pfeiffer, Keanu Reeves, Uma Thurman


Director: Stephen Frears