Watched Jul 29, 2012
Adam Cook’s review:
Bel Ami is a stagnant and paper thin costume drama set at the tail end of the 19th Century in Paris. Robert Pattinson plays a social climber who seduces his way to power and fortune yet the film fails to capture his dubious lack of morals in an engaging way. He may sleep his way through French high society but you get no sense of him actually being able to seduce these women as he is so blandly portrayed. Part of the problem is Pattinson, a man who struggles to play a conflicted and duplicitous character, but the bigger problem is the underdeveloped script and pedestrian direction.
At least he is afforded some development though unlike his co-stars that merely serve to progress his own story. Whilst this may be partly the point it seems a waste of considerable acting talent. This should be a dark and fascinating story about a ruthless individual feeding off those richer and more talented than he, yet what we end up with is a petulant boy bedding a handful of bored housewives. It fails as a character study, thriller or even as a slice of throwaway entertainment.