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Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Book vs Film: Dangerous Liaisons vs Dangerous Liaisons

Plot: Two dissolute aristocrats wreak havoc on the innocents around them, corrupting everything and everyone in their paths. One, Madame de Merteuil, wants to get revenge on a former lover by arranging the seduction of his bride to be; the other, Valmont, simply wants the pleasure of knowing that he can make a virtuous woman break her marital vows. Sex, violence and all manner intrigue ensues.

Primary Differences Between Book and Film: The film really isn't different from the novel in any significant way - when a story is this perfectly crafted, there's little that needs changing. The ending of the film is slightly different from the book, but just as devastating.

For the Book: It's brilliant. Nearly 230 years after its initial publication, it remains a thoroughly engaging and entertaining read, the kind you burn through because you just can't put it down. It is also, given the time in which it was written, surprisingly direct with regards to sex, perhaps even more so than the film.

For the Film: The acting, the acting and... the acting. Yes, even Keanu Reeves - Danceny is a "duh" kind of character even in the book so Reeves' performance really doesn't seem out of place in the film. You also have Glenn Close, John Malkovich, Michelle Pfeiffer and Uma Thurman turning in great performances. Beyond the actors, Stephen Frears' direction is also great and I actually think that the final moments of the film are stronger than the finale of the novel (even if only by a hair).

Winner: Tie. The book is awesome and so is the movie. You can't go wrong with either.

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