Dangerous Liaisons (review)

The decadent 18th-century French novel gets yet another mounting, this time around with the seduction and the betrayal and the general mean-spiritedness time-traveling to the 1960s. Better it had remained in the past. The cast is undeniably attractive — Catherine Deneuve as the spiteful Madame de Merteuil, Rupert Everett as the Don Juan-ish Valmont, and Leelee Sobieski and Nastassja Kinski as Valmont’s two new targets for conquest — but the overlong production evinces neither the saucy trashiness that would make it tasty cinematic cheese nor any of the courtly style or ravishing wit that would make it simply delicious. Stuck in the indifferent middle, this is a sodden production that thinks it is elegantly spare and is instead merely dull.

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