Tuesday, November 10, 2009

humanity takes itself too seriously...

...if the cave-man had known how to laugh, History would have been different.
-Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray

Having heard of this film, I was excited as The Picture of Dorian Gray is one of my favourite works of literature of all time (and I love Colin Firth). I was also scared as I felt this book was so delicate and nuanced, that it would be extremely difficult to put into a movie. Also because when I saw what I think was the 1973 version, I was scared out of my wits. I think I was also 12 though.

Judging by this movie trailer, this movie is taking itself too seriously. It's evidently maximizing on the horrific parts and ignoring all the comedy. When I think of Dorian Gray, I don't picture this dramatic music and dim lighting. It's not the aesthetic at all of Wilde in my opinion, and to him, what is more important than aesthetics?

What makes the story so disturbing is that it's written like a light comedy. It's beautiful, like Dorian Gray, but underneath there's this horrific hidden soul. Of course, some of Gray's terrible actions, such as the murder, are made explicit and are not comical in themselves (though Gray's blithe attitude in blackmailing Alan Campbell might elicit some uncomfortable giggles). But on the whole it's not that his desires are "unthinkable," it's that in general, but especially in his aesthete (and/or decadent) society, they are rather normal. Just the societal superego is supposed to stop you at a point, and he has sacrificed his for youth.

So, I will probably watch this movie and perhaps I will enjoy it. Perhaps the "mood" I am getting from the trailer is just to attract audiences less keen on the idea of watching a bunch of dandies indulging themselves. But I worry it will lose everything that made me fall hopelessly in love with Oscar.

In other news - read The Picture of Dorian Gray. Do it.

Oh, and happy belated birthday dear Oscar!

No comments:

Post a Comment