Before I start I won't lie, before watching the film I didn't read the book... I'm a bad person, I am reading it now and really enjoying it... confession over! So a little history lesson; The Picture of Dorian Gray is a novel written by Oscar Wilde in 1891, the story is based around Dorian Gray, a young man who has just moved to Victorian London. Here is taken under the arm of Lord Henry Wotton who has a negative influence over Gray, encouraging him to live a life of pleasure. After seeing a painting of himself, painted by a friend, Dorian Gray 'nails his soul to the devil's altar', literally selling his soul to keep his good looks. The effect of this is that while Dorian goes out and lives the life that Henry encourages him to he does not age, rather the effect of his immoral life is seen within the painting.
The acting within this film is solid throughout, Ben Barnes and Colin Firth, Dorian Gray and Henry Wotton respectively, are perfectly suited to their roles really do flesh out the characters. The dark plot is shown throughout and you really do see the corruption of the innocence of Gray through the interaction between Barnes and Firth's acting.
There has been a fair amount of license taken with the adaption from the book, from what I've read so far a lot has been taken out of the film which really builds into suspense, this is a shame, however forgivable, on the basis that what is cut doesn't effect the moral of the story. I have been informed that the ending of the film has been artistically 'enhanced', however I haven't read the end of the book yet so cannot comment there!
I will say that the ending does see some of the character's remorse show, the line 'pleasure isn't happiness' stands out to me as the moral of the film, as Dorian looks upon the distorted, rotting, painting you do see the pain and regret.
This isn't just another
novel that has been picked up and converted into a film which is good. Work actually went into the interpretation of the classic novel. While it wasn't a film that I would of gone to see normally, I could see the art that was in the creation of it. The 15 certificate that it received was perhaps a little lax considering what has shown on screen, however on the basis that the BBFC
are a joke these days I will overlook it! In conclusion, I would round this film off with 4 stars, a really good adaption of a good book!