Great acting, interesting chiaroscuro sets, good writing, and lots of steamy scenes with Johnny Depp with not much on. However we still came away from the film feeling a bit depressed. The moral of the story is "Aren't condoms brilliant?" - except they weren't commonly used during the reign of Charles II. (They had been invented by the Romans, but weren't very pleasant.) Johnny Depp did a marvellous impression of Father Jack (looking scabrous and with a filmy eye, slouching in a chair and shouting "Drink! Drink!") and Samantha Morton was very good as an actress who couldn't act, and was then coached by Johnny's character (it takes considerable acting skills to be able to depict a person who can't act). Also I couldn't help noticing that even when Johnny Depp is covered in horrible syphilitic scab make-up, he still has lovely bone structure... Ultimately, as my friend commented, the film depicts a person who has his self-destruct button permanently pressed. Nice cameo role from John Malkovich as Charles II - shades of Dangerous Liaisons, I thought - there were quite a few parallels with that film. Also I liked the device of a prologue and epilogue, borrowed from the plays of the period - a neat Verfremdungseffekt. Also the way the film appeared to end with Wilmot's death, but then actually ended with his stage death in the play about him written by an acquaintance of his, George Etherege.
Johnny Depp Zone
John Wilmot, 2nd Earl of Rochester