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Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 19.27%
Average: 16.51%
Pretty Bad: 12.84%
Total Crap: 3.67%

10 reviews, 49 user ratings

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by Filmnet

"Complicated, outrageous & quite entertaining."
4 stars

Any story about the Marquis De Sade is bound to be strong stuff. Quills is based on Wright's play and directed in a bawdy theatrical style by Kaufman. This helps make Sade's antics more watchable--and surprisingly funny, in a very dark sort of way. But it also keeps us from ever really taking it seriously.

Set in the early 1800s, Sade (Rush) is being held in a mental asylum, using a maid (Winslet) to smuggle his raunchy, radical manuscripts to his publisher. Napoleon isn't pleased, and assigns the vile Doctor Royer-Collard (Caine) to "cure" him with his torture therapy. And this sets up a collision of wills with the asylum's director (Phoenix), a priest with much more humane methods.

There's a lot more to it than that, with a complex web of yearnings and internal relationships that bind everyone to each other in quite wickedways. Kaufman keeps things colourful and very lively, and Rush has a ball with the performance--camping it up without ever going over the top, every line is double entendre, but there's real grit underneath.

Phoenix and Winslet have much more internalised roles, and both perform them well, while Caine coasts along in steely villain mode. The film would be fairly pointless without some solid themes underlying the chaos and manic behaviour--fear of opposing views, the danger of letting lust run wild, the importance and consequences of freedom of expression.

Quills is complicated and thought-provoking without ever giving an easy answer. And for that the film is worth watching. But these characters' outrageous, in-your-face vulgarity is a lot to sit through to get there. On the other hand, if Kaufman had played it straight, it would be virtually unbearable.--Rich Cline

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originally posted: 01/25/01 17:44:30
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User Comments

9/09/08 Arcane An original story - though a bit boring. Phoenix is excellent as usual. 3 stars
3/11/07 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
10/02/03 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
4/08/03 Mystique Very good acting! 5 stars
2/22/03 Blabity blah complete drivel. Misuse of talented actors. Crap Script. 1 stars
1/01/03 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
4/26/02 Charles Tatum Rush is great and Winslet is sexy 5 stars
4/24/02 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
1/17/02 Piz an acting clinic for the ages thats strange, funny, and engaging 4 stars
1/02/02 Duke Disturbing yet brilliant....the dvd writer's commentary is necessary to understand the film 5 stars
12/15/01 Butterbean A disturbing picture with an ending that would piss you off 4 stars
12/13/01 Dominik Duprelle Intelligent, caustic black comedy/drama with a wicked sense of fun-enjoy it! 5 stars
11/27/01 Hum interesting 4 stars
10/22/01 Tam Beautiful and haunting. Dark and witty by turns, with superb performances. 5 stars
6/17/01 artpaws An artist for today! unsavory, anti-social, of abysmal quality: spokesman for free speech 4 stars
6/13/01 Jennifer I was speechless 4 stars
6/11/01 Matt M Disturbing but ravishing 4 stars
6/09/01 *~Danielle*Ophelia~* (formerly KyLe*BrOfLoVsKi) Wow... 5 stars
6/04/01 Basil Excellent movie. 5 stars
5/26/01 nanci Joaquin Phoenix is absolutely spell-binding; a masterpiece 5 stars
5/15/01 The Bomb 69 not your typical hollywood ending, I loved it!!! 5 stars
5/15/01 othree I actually enjoyed it, had heard horrific comments, Rush, Marquis De Sade was wonderful 4 stars
5/07/01 Mitja Podgajski I love this movie.. 4 stars
4/19/01 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
3/21/01 Great movie about freedom of expression! 5 stars
3/15/01 Lady Disdain Strong and Entertaining; Winslet and Phoenix are phenomenal 5 stars
3/04/01 matthew smith Geoffrey rush is superb 5 stars
2/21/01 Rocket Boy Less than some of Kaufman's other works, but Rush was wonderful. 3 stars
2/13/01 LAZY Simplistic, inaccurate, disgusting. Does historical context matter to anyone? 3 stars
2/08/01 Johnny Figaro Caine was better in Muppet XMas Carol. Overwrought and overrated 2 stars
2/06/01 Matthew Bartley Terrific.Kind of a medevial One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest 5 stars
1/16/01 bats beautiful and disturbing like a train can't stop watching. 4 stars
1/12/01 Lisa P I loved the chances this movie took...the content was and still is highly controversial. 5 stars
1/07/01 bison it was great. 5 stars
1/03/01 insectk kicks boocoo ass 5 stars
1/02/01 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
12/18/00 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
12/05/00 Artist Freak Un freaking real. My favorite movie in a long, long time. 5 stars
11/29/00 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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