The Libertine (2004)
Playwrite Stephen Jeffreys adapts his play about the free-drinking, outspoken seducer John Wilmot, 2nd Earl of Rochester to the big screen. At the hands of first-time director Laurence Dunmore, this period piece is anything but the glossy Merchant/Ivory dramas for better or worse. The film is packed and wrapped in the amoral and careless, but also humorous and intellectual spirit of its protagonist. Johnny Depp personifies Rochester with splendor and charisma, but keeps his performance fairly shallow throughout. Something that will also apply to the film itself, making it a rather strenuous affair, as Dunmore drenches his film in a constantly muddy palette and focuses mostly on the, often funny, but ultimately superficial dialogues, monologues and poetry of the legendary Duke.