A fabulously lavish period drama and a splendid novel to screen adaptation by Frears.
Period dramas can be dull affairs but not when the material is as scandalous and debauched as this. Frears throws period accuracy out the window, instead opting for an unconventional, mostly American cast of actors in roles usually populated by Brits with plums in their mouths.
John Malkovich is a force of nature, bringing his usual shouty confidence and intensity, whilst Glenn Close is every bit his match as the conniving Marquise De Merteuil. Some young faces make early appearances too, Uma Thurman and a rather miscast Keanu Reeves are interesting choices and Michelle Pfeiffer plays the most endearing character with immense pathos and warmth.
The sets are exquisite, tragedy, impropriety and comedy are interwoven masterfully but it lacks any emotional heft. I found myself enjoying the character dynamics and scheming too much to become invested in much else.