The Libertine
Credit: LIBERTINE: Peter Mountain

First-time director Laurence Dunmore would like to make one thing clear: ”An audience who comes thinking this could be a sequel to Pirates of the Caribbean because it’s got that period thing [will be] a very upset audience.” The erstwhile Jack Sparrow plays John Wilmot, second Earl of Rochester, the hedonistic 17th-century poet whose wild ways so incensed King Charles II (John Malkovich) that he was banished from the court. Full of explicit sex, foul language, and some really nasty shots of Wilmot succumbing to the horrors of syphilis, The Libertine is hardly fun for the whole family. Even Johnny Depp fans might be taken aback. ”His health starts to decline, the way Johnny looks…it is tough to take,” admits Dunmore, who screened a rough cut at 2004’s Toronto film fest to decidedly mixed reviews. (The movie has since been reworked significantly, according to Miramax.) Produced by Malkovich, who starred in the original stage version, The Libertine is risqué e], but it’s not a ”deliberate provocation,” the director promises. ”The language, the passion, the sexual aspects…it’s all integral to this man’s life.”

The Libertine
  • Movie
  • 114 minutes