Published: 10:12, 07 March 2012 |
Updated: 09:43, 10 January 2014
Bel Ami (15, 102 mins)
Romance/Drama. Robert Pattinson, Uma Thurman, Kristin Scott Thomas, Christina Ricci, Philip Glenister, Holliday Grainger, Colm Meaney, Natalia Tena. Directors: Declan Donnellan, Nick Ormerod
Robert Pattinson hones the mournful pout of his vampire from the Twilight saga in this tepid adaptation of the 19th century novel by Guy de Maupassant.
He dabbles with the dark side once again, playing an amoral journalist who clambers up the social ladder in Belle Epoque Paris by sleeping with neglected wives and daughters of the men who wield power.
It's another valiant attempt by Pattinson to step away from his signature role as brooding Edward Cullen but directors Declan Donnellan and Nick Ormerod will be hoping that older tween audiences flock to this lustful yarn.
The promise of copious sex and a shirtless male lead should guarantee decent box office returns this weekend but the lack of palpable eroticism on screen quickly dampens our ardour.
If Bel Ami is hoping to arouse passions like Dangerous Liaisons, it fails, lacking a script laden with tantalising sexual promise or tour-de-force performances from an impressive ensemble cast.
Georges Duroy (Robert Pattinson) harks from lowly stock and arrives in 1890s Paris with barely two francs to rub together.
He is taken under the wing of friend Charles Forestier (Philip Glenister), who lands the ambitious upstart a position on a newspaper and introduces him to the elegant drawing rooms where his wife Madeleine (Uma Thurman) and friends Virginie Walter (Kristin Scott Thomas) and Clotilde de Marelle (Christina Ricci) hold court.
Dressed in a jacket paid out of Charles's deep pockets, Georges surmises that if he is to gain a foothold in polite society, he must seduce these women and exploit their influence.
So he hops from one bed to the next, securing opulent lodgings as his underhand scheme reaps rewards.
However, playing with emotions is a perilous business and on more than one occasion, he dismisses one lover in the nick of time before his next 'appointment'.
Matters are complicated when Madame Walter's daughter Suzanne (Holliday Grainger) makes it clear she would like to be plucked by Charles too.
Eventually, the whole sordid truth must come out and tavern wench Rachel (Natalia Tena) is just the woman to knock down Georges's precarious tower of lies.
Bel Ami is a big tease that fails to deliver when it matters.
Donnellan and Ormerod's handsomely crafted period piece has heaving bosoms and straining britches aplenty.
However, Pattinson lacks sexual chemistry with any of his co-stars, making a mockery of his anti-hero's ability to reduce lovers to swooning, gibbering wrecks.
Female co-stars are hampered with two-dimensional roles that squander their abundant talents.
When Georges asks one lover, "Why do you come back to me?" and she responds meekly, "I don't know", she speaks for us all.
His bed-hopping liaisons are not remotely dangerous.
:: No swearing :: Sex :: Violence :: Rating: 5/10
Every morning at 10am we play you an hour of tunes from the 90s. We call it, #WeLoveThe90s.
Play 'Say It' with Garry and Laura on kmfm Breakfast and you could win £1,000!
Wake up to kmfm Breakfast with Garry and Laura - it's Kent's alarm call.
A guide for your future. For year 11 students in Kent and Medway. Click here for the e-edition.
Education, Training & Childcare is a special supplement published by KM Media Group four times a year. Click here for latest e-edition.
Get the latest food and drink news, recipes from some of the nation's top chefs plus updates from Kent's vineyards and breweries.
Search in your local area to find your perfect partner in Kent, with FreshStart Dating! PLUS, register for free!.
Find out what's going on in the garden, with Kent expert Lucy Hewett's weekly update.
Buy pictures that you've seen in a KM newspaper, or send in a picture and we will place it on our photo sales website so that you can purchase a super, unique gift.