No bite in Twilight star's Parisian fling
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
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
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
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
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
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
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