It must be awfully frustrating for Robert Pattinson and everyone involved in movies with him to be hamstrung by studios that want to take advantage of his Twilight fan base. There's no other explanation for this fangless adaptation of Guy de Maupassant's classic novel about a mercenary young lad who beds society ladies for political leverage. Oh and because he can.
As Georges Duroy the titular bel ami Pattinson skulks sulks and glowers his way through Paris in the 19th century. The dirt poor former solider runs into a comrade from the war who is now a powerful newspaper editor; Charles Forestier (Philip Glenister) who takes pity on the filthy drunk tosses him a few gold pieces and invites him to dinner. Madeleine Forestier is the brain behind the operation and she advises Duroy to cozy up to the other society ladies as they're the ones with the real power. Duroy gets a gig writing a column for the newspaper which Madeleine actually writes for him and his career as a professional grifter begins.
The plot of Bel Ami revolves around the political environment of France just before its invasion of Morocco as much as it does Duroy's love affairs. It's a major motivating factor for many of the characters one that has been watered down or edited out to the point where it's almost an afterthought. This takes away a lot of the urgency and the sort of backstabbing deliciousness that one would expect from a piece like this. The stakes aren't that high until near the end when they come to a sudden head. Before that the story was meandering between Duroy's dalliances with a married woman and how he's scamming the newspaper.
Christina Ricci plays Duroy's lover Clotilde one of Madeleine's friends and although she's married there's no weight to the affair other than to show the supposedly sexy sex that has been both part of the movie's hype and it would seem its main marketing problem. Marketing problems are relevant here because they generally mean more and more edits are made until what was once a coherent movie becomes a confusing mishmash through little fault of those directly involved.
Their scenes are moderately steamy for an R-rated movie. They're obviously not appropriate for his so-called fan base but it's obvious that even before the Twilight franchise was nearing its run that Pattinson wanted to take a stab at actual acting. Although Duroy is a sh*t it seems unlikely that the final cut of the film is all that true to the book or even the vision of those involved.
That's a shame since Bel Ami looks lovely even if it comes off as occasionally goofy. Ricci is beautiful but her character is banal. The men are all fairly interchangeable cigar-smoking society types or ink-stained writers. The most memorable thing about Uma Thurman's performance is how elegantly she smokes her cigarettes and how she treats Duroy's lovemaking as if it were less interesting than a fly landing on her arm. As one of the society women that Duroy beds as part of his scheming Kristin Scott Thomas goes from a typically no-nonsense married lady to a mewling quim. Pattinson can't seem to find the right balance between rage and sweetness; it's actually impossible to tell who he's in love with when or why until he bursts out with statements like "I was the one getting f*cked!" Or was the audience?
Imrie has posed for renowned photographer Rankin wearing a tumbling red hairpiece, while Hustle star Glenister sports a long brown style for CLIC Sargent's Wig Wednesday fundraiser for youngsters battling the disease.
Glenister says, "Wig Wednesday is a fantastically worthwhile campaign and I feel really privileged to be involved.
"It's such a cool and simple idea - wear a wig for the day and get your colleagues and mates to donate some money to CLIC Sargent to help them support children and young people with cancer."
The awareness initiative, also supported by socialite Tara Palmer-Tomkinson and British actress Natalie Cassidy, takes place in the U.K. on Wednesday (23May12).
The Sexy Beast star, 53, wed Damian Schnabel, 38, in front of 200 family and friends at Maunsel House in Somerset, England on Saturday (04Sep10).
Winstone gave a reading at the ceremony, while Redman's daughter Emily Glenister, from her first marriage to actor Robert Glenister, performed a song for the happy couple as they enjoyed their first dance.
The BAFTA-nominated small screen comedy, about a high school glee club, will go up against The Vampire Diaries and British shows Married Single Other and Misfits for Best New Drama.
Cult sci-fi series Doctor Who has earned a mention for Best Family Drama, while TV timelord Matt Smith and his assistant Karen Gillan have landed Best Actor and Best Actress nominations, respectively.
Smith will face competition from Desperate Housewives star John Barrowman, who is up for his role in Torchwood, while Skins' Jack O'Connell and Ashes to Ashes' Phillip Glenister will also compete for the title.
Meanwhile, Simon Cowell's reality TV series Britain's Got Talent and The X Factor will fight it out for Best Talent Show, along with Strictly Come Dancing and Dancing On Ice, and the Best Soap award will be a close call between long-running programmes EastEnders and Coronation Street, Emmerdale and Hollyoaks.
The ceremony will take place on 6 September (10).