An artful and brooding period piece about John Wilmot (Johnny Depp), a scandalously debauched earl of the English Restoration who apparently was not in contact with feelings of compassion or sympathy. The film opens with an attack -- "I am John Wilmot, the second Earl of Rochester, and I do not want you to like me," the earl snarls -- and doesn't soften, despite Wilmot's infatuation with actress Lizzie Barry (Samantha Morton). By the time the alcoholism and syphilis have peeled the skin from Wilmot's face and the muscle from his bones, it's hard not to feel at least a little tainted by his vast personal plague -- and also moved, if not by his own self-loathing, then by the care of those around him. The Libertine is an interesting film, and a good one, with a harrowing performance by Depp, whose apparent enjoyment of the role seems only to increase as his character deteriorates. John Malkovich, playing King Charles II, is a delight.
Director: Laurence Dunmore
Writer: Stephen Jeffreys
Producer: John Malkovich, Russell Smith and Lianne Halfon
Cast: Johnny Depp, John Malkovich, Samantha Morton, Rosamund Pike, Richard Coyle, Louisa Bawden, Tom Burke, Rupert Friend, Susie Gossling Valerio and Tom Hollander