I read the novel, The Portrait of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde in a literature class while an undergrad at UC Davis. A literary masterpiece, the novel explores the themes of vanity, sensuality, death, and jealousy with fantastical and religious elements thrown in with a hint of glaring homosexual subtext.
This latest adaptation, Dorian Gray, starring Ben Barnes and Colin Firth is brilliantly done and is definitely worth watching for any Oscar Wilde fan.
Barnes, whom many will recognize from the Narnia movies as Prince Caspian, plays Dorian Gray. Gray is a young man who returns home only to be seduced by the debauched and sinful world he encounters thanks to Lord Henry Wotton (the always great Colin Firth).
When an enamored artist paints Dorian’s portrait, he ends up making a deal with the devil with terrifying results: the painted image of Dorian ages and decays while he remains youthful to the amazement of those aging around him. Will his lust for youth and sex be his downfall? Or will he become a better person because of his newfound power?
Filled with stunning images, production design, macabre moments, and plenty of sex, Dorian Gray is a fantastic interpretation of the classic novel. The visuals suck you into the story, and the portrait itself is mesmerizing as it goes from its initial state to its final stages of decay (very distrubing). I was intrigued and drawn into it from the very first moment of the film and I couldn’t take my eyes away. It’s a great film.
The chemistry between Barnes and Firth drives the film forward as both men do their best to achieve their own dark and devious agendas. But which one will succeed in the end?
The Blu-ray version of the film is loaded with great special features that include: Audio Commentary with director Oliver Parker and Screenwriter Toby Finlay; Featuettes: Make Up & Wardrobe, The Painting, Smithfield Market, and Visual Effects; Making of Dorian Gray (with cast and crew interviews); Deleted Scenes; Blooper Reel; and Costume Design Photo Gallery.
I highly recommend Dorian Gray. It’s chilling, thrilling, exciting, and entertaining.
Dorian Gray is available NOW on DVD and Blu-ray!