Writer: Toby Finlay (Screenplay) Oscar Wilde (Novel)
Starring: Ben Barnes, Colin Firth, Rebecca Hall, Ben Chaplin, Fiona Shaw, Emilia Fox
Plot: A corrupt young man somehow keeps his youthful beauty eternally, but a special painting gradually reveals his inner ugliness to all.
Tagline – Forever Young. Forever Cursed.
Runtime: 1 Hour 52 Minutes
There may be spoilers the rest of the review
Story: Dorian Gray starts as Dorian Gray (Barnes) himself arrives in CGI London, I mean London around the 1800s to return to his childhood home. Dorian gets to mingle with the high society members including Lord Henry Wotton (Firth) as he learns his place in London.
Henry takes Dorian under his wing and with a portrayed showing his youthful looks offering him the desire to remain that way we see the world Dorian has been guided into by Henry. Dorian becoming his own man uses the painting to keep his aging while he remains young and becomes the womanising machine around town, but there is always a consequence to this.
Thoughts on Dorian Gray
Characters – Dorian Gray is the young man bought back into London, he starts full of innocence but after being guided down certain paths he changes becoming a man that has his youth preserved in a painting that has swapped with his physical body. Lord Henry Wotton is the high society man that takes Dorian down the darker paths, first for his own entertainment but soon fuelling his own jealously.
Performances – Ben Barnes is good as Dorian Gray the forever youthful looking and enjoying life forever. Colin Firth is the gentleman figure here being the mentor and easily being the highlight of the film.
Story – The Dorian Gray story is a well-known story of the man that never ages while his painting showed the age and harm his body has taken as it slowly starts to consume him. The origin of this does lack the fantasy you would imagine it having and does just feel like a simple look at how high society believed they controlled London. While the story may well follow the original material well it does need some evolution to make the story compelling to the modern audience.
Fantasy/Thriller – This should be a fantasy filled moment film but we lack anything past the concept of what is happening to Dorian.
Settings – The settings are old London which look completely fake through the whole sucking us out of the location for the most part.
Special Effects – The effects are a let-down in the most part disappointing on nearly every occasion through the film.
Final Thoughts – This should be one of the greatest gothic stories you will ever see, but it lacks all the effects, twists and storytelling to make it.
Overall: Disappointing all around.