Director: Philip Kaufman
Critic rating: 2
Geoffrey Rush shines as history's most infamous and literate libertine--the Marquis de Sade--in director Philip Kaufman's adaptation of the Doug Wright play. Set in 19th-century France's infamous Charenton insane asylum, the "speculative drama" chronicles the battle of wills between the sly de Sade, the director/priest trying to reason with him (Joaquin Phoenix), and the conservative doctor (Michael Caine) sent by Napoleon to stop the Marquis' scandalous writings. Kate Winslet co-stars as a laundress who becomes de Sade's confidante and object of desire.
Surprisingly bland, considering the subject matter, not nearly as racy as it could have been. It had its trappy moments and Geoffrey Rush was good, but really it's nothing more than a historical drama, so unless you're into that sort of thing it's probably not for you.