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Dorian gray.

* This gothic period piece enjoyable but not entirely the Oscar Wilde novel it's Go and see it anyway, says Megan Barker.

Welcome to the prim and proper, hedonistic and debaucherous city of London in the late 19th century! Oscar Wilde's gothic novel on aestheticism and morality has been made into a new film starring Colin Firth and Ben Barnes.

Knowing I was going to be seeing this movie, I returned to the bookshelves of my youth to re-read The Picture of Dorian Gray. Admittedly, I didn't get through the whole book before seeing this movie, but I needn't have worried. The movie takes the premise of the book, without the cleverness of Oscar Wilde.

The mood is sinister throughout, and Wilde's moral of the story is certainly made clear by the end. Somehow the sporadic use of Wilde's dialogue made the movie as a whole lack dimension, but the attention to detail in regard to costumes and scenery is excellent.

I was particularly impressed with Colin Firth playing Lord Henry Wotton and Ben Chaplin playing Basil Hallward. I do, however, confess to being a fan of Colin Firth, especially in the roles that give him a dark side. This movie does that, but he doesn't seem as comfortable in the role as he was in Easy Virtue, another movie in which he played alongside Ben Barnes. Barnes was tolerable as Dorian, but it was like he didn't understand the role.

Despite the above criticisms, I enjoyed this film. It was a fabulous escape on a rainy, miserable evening, not too taxing on the brain, and there was just enough suspense to keep me interested. Do not see this film if you are a fan of Oscar Wilde, though, as you will find it lacking, but if you enjoy a period piece with a twist, this might just be for you.

I have deliberately not talked much about the plot, as it would give too much away. Go see the movie.?

Dorian Gray opens on 12 November

Review by Megan Barker, CNE, RPAH, Sydney
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Title Annotation:LIFESTYLE
Author:Barker, Megan
Publication:The Lamp
Date:Nov 1, 2009
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