BEL AMI

STYLE OVER SUBSTANCE

THEATRICAL REVIEW
By Jess Fenton
20th May 2012

Based on the 1885 Guy de Maupassant novel of the same name, this film adaptation of 'Bel Ami' plays out like a synopsis, bouncing from one event to another without depth or development. Despite the impressive female cast - including Uma Thurman, Christina Ricci and Kristen Scott Thomas - this film does no one any favours.

One can suspect the fault lies in the film's not one, but two first-time directors. The decision to choose style over substance with the casting of its lead, 'Twilight' heartthrob Robert Pattinson, who while boasting occasional major box-office success has never been a critical favourite. Despite the parallels of a man who manipulates his way to the top based on his looks and not his skills, Pattinson seems to have chosen a role too demanding for his skills.

WATCH: 'BEL AMI'

Pattinson plays Georges Duroy, a poor cavalry officer recently returned home to Paris. After running into a the political editor of a prestigious newspaper who also just happens to be a man Georges served with, he is introduced to the highest society players. Georges uses his looks and powers of seduction to climb his way into their ranks, their wealth and their pants via the greater women behind the great men.

Without a likeable character to be seen, along with clumsy pacing and tone, at the film's conclusion the audience is left wondering "What was the point?", with Maupassant's social commentaries completely lost in translation.

A film for those who want to waste $18.

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