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Plot summary

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Kate Winslet Photo
Kate Winslet as Madeleine
Joaquin Phoenix Photo
Joaquin Phoenix as Coulmier
Michael Caine Photo
Michael Caine as Royer-Collard
Ron Cook Photo
Ron Cook as Napoleon
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1.11 GB
English 2.0
23.976 fps
2 hr 4 min
P/S 1 / 3
2.29 GB
English 5.1
23.976 fps
2 hr 4 min
P/S 1 / 11

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by Movie-129 / 10

Geoffrey Rush in a brave, Oscar-worthy performance, and a story an interesting as most anything this year; one of the year's best. ***1/2 (out of four)

QUILLS / (2000) ***1/2 (out of four)

By Blake French:

"To know virtue we must aquatint ourselves with vice."

Marquis de Sade

Philip Kaufman's "Quills" will leave some audiences cheering and others disappointed and disgusted; there are good logical arguments from both sides. One of the most controversial movie of the year, "Quills, " based on the play by Douglas Wright, doesn't entirely examine the torpid mind of the disreputable 18th century French author, the Marquis de Sade, but instead indicates the impact his sexually and sadistically explicit literary work influenced the public. The biggest argument could be made with the sanity of Marquis de Sade himself, as whether he was a perverted, sex-obsessed psychopath or simply a spirited aristocrat who only stood for artistic expression and freedom of speech. The movie's characters take their own sides; after becoming aware of the authors material, Napoleon wants de Sade (Geoffrey Rush) shot dead at the insane asylum he is being held at, but instead a sadistic torturer named Dr. Royer-Collard (Michael Caine) is assigned to take charge of the patient; the virginal laundress Madeleine (Kate Winslet) , thinks de Sade is a writer, not a madman, and helps to smuggle his erotic stories out of the institution for public publication; the asylum priest, Adde Coulmier (Joaquin Phoenix),first befriends de Sade and grants him special privileges, but once he discovers the extremity of his subversive ideas, he reluctantly changes opinions. De Sade inarguably had some fanatical fantasies, but the film leaves it up to us to realize his lustful imagination captured on paper are transpired due to his inability to experience them in the real world outside of his chambers. The subject is carnal and a bit unsettling, and the movie exploits the eroticism clearly on screen; the film is strictly intended for mature audiences. But director Philip Kaufman ("The Right Stuff") does not portray the likes of de Sade in a disturbing manner, but keeps the story engaging. The atmosphere feels accurate and convincing, and the movie is not without humor and the expected material found within the mental institution, like the patient who thinks he is a bird, a pyromaniac, and the hulking horny guy who has his mind set out on raping any human with two legs with no external organs between them. There are a few scenes that could have captured the audience a bit more exclusively. However the entirely convincing, intense, brave, Oscar worthy performances by Michael Caine and Geoffrey Rush make up for that. The Marquis was an extremely complex individual, and Rush captures that through a character without heart or compassion, but with spirit and zest; even though de Sade went through each day with suffering, he still approached life with insight, ambition and curiosity. He is so determined to fulfill his need to write his perverse ideas, after forbidden and when his quills are taken away he still prevails by using blood, wine, and feces in the place of ink, and his clothes, sheets, and walls as paper. De Sade stands as an example that society is most successfully established when people understand that we are all simply expressions of our own nature, that it is most healthy to declare our motives and passions to ourselves. He is also a prime example of self-control, and that freedom of speech only carries us so far. It would be interesting to see what would happen if Marquis de Sade was to live in present times and if he was to exploit his ideas on screen or in novels. I think he would push the envelope to yet another level and have quite an influence on today's society. I hope people who see the artful "Quills" share their opinions with one another, after all, that is the reason why filmmakers make movies like these.

Reviewed by SnoopyStyle7 / 10

Geoffrey Rush brilliant

The Marquis de Sade (Geoffrey Rush) is locked up in the Charenton Insane Asylum run by Abbé du Coulmier (Joaquin Phoenix). Laundress Madeline LeClerc (Kate Winslet) falls for the lascivious Marquis de Sade and helps him smuggle out his writings. Emperor Napoléon Bonaparte wants him stopped and sends Dr. Royer-Collard (Michael Caine) with his tortuous treatments. Royer-Collard marries the young Simone (Amelia Warner) who lived in a convent.

Geoffrey Rush is absolutely brilliant as the Marquis de Sade. The acting in this is first rate. I wish Rush get more screen time as the lead character. He's nominated for the Oscar as lead actor but he's more as one of the cast. Royer-Collard's hypocrisy is interesting but the movie spends a little too much time on him. I would rather the movie stay with Geoffrey Rush from start to finish and more Kate Winslet.

Reviewed by Prismark106 / 10

Perversity in Paris

Writer and director Philip Kaufman is an American with a continental European art-house sensibilities when it comes to films. Yet he also has a populist touch which tends to make his films accessible to the many. He is after all along with George Lucas the co-creator of the character Indiana Jones and co-wrote the story Raiders of the Lost Ark.

Quills is a bawdy and satirical romp. It is an adaptation of a stage play and features a fictionalised story of the Marquis De Sade. It is certainly not a bio-pic.

The Marquis (Geoffrey Rush) here is a morally dubious and depraved character living in relative luxury at an insane asylum. The asylum is run by a liberal priest Abbe du Coulmier (Joaquin Phoenix). The Marquis attacks his faith and celibacy by trying to put ideas in his head.

When Napoleon tires of the Marquis sexual tomes he puts Dr Royer- Collard (Michael Caine) to deal with the Marquis. The doctor is a man who uses torture to cure his mental patients. It is clear he will use extreme methods on the Marquis. The doctor is a hypocrite of the highest order. He marries a young convent girl who he imprisons in a large house and has rough sex with her without any tenderness.

Madeline (Kate Winslet) is a laundry girl who helps smuggles out the writing of the Marquis. She is being pursued by one of the asylum patients and also desired by du Coulmier. Yet although she enjoys the salacious tales of the Marquis she has not acted on them.

Simone (Amelia Warner) the young wife of Dr Royer-Collard is the one person who acts on the tales of the Marquis by seducing and running off with the architect much to the fury of the doctor.

Of course the film wants to make a point about free speech and censorship. It wants to give the middle finger to the conservative shock jocks in the USA who want to censor left, right and centre and then espouse free speech when it is convenient for them.

However the Marquis de Sade as the standard bearer for freedom of speech, seriously? The real de Sade was a sadist. The word is named after him!

The film rather loses its way in the latter part of the film where the screenplay becomes rather blunt. Madeline wants a final story relayed to her by the Marquis which drives some of the inmates mad, including the one who has in the past assaulted her and is the person who relays it to her.

It is du Coulmier who takes extreme action against the Marquis when you know given the humiliations heaped on him by the Marquis and that his young wife betrayed him, it should had been the bad doctor.

The film is well acted. However Rush who we only glance at briefly here and there at the opening part of the film maybe plays him too nice and sympathetic.

I kept thinking how this film would have turned out if it got into the hands off a director such as Peter Greenaway, wayward he may be but it would had been a full on riot.

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