More and more films premiere on Video on Demand — if they don’t simply bypass a theatrical release altogether. Because VOD reviews are often scarce and hard to find, Criticwire created VODetails, a recurring column to help you figure out whether a new VOD release is worth your hard-earned dollar. This time we’re looking at “Bel Ami,” starring “Twilight”‘s Robert Pattinson as a social climbing seducer in 1890s Paris. If you don’t speak French, the title loosely translates too “diamond-skinned vampire.” If you do speak French, the title loosely translates to its actual translation.
Director: Declan Donnellan and Nick Ormerod
Cast: Robert Pattinson, Uma Thurman, Kristin Scott Thomas
Official Synopsis: “‘Bel Ami’ is the story of Georges Duroy, who travels through 1890s Paris, from cockroach ridden garrets to opulent salons, using his wits and powers of seduction to rise from poverty to wealth, from a prostitute’s embrace to passionate trysts with wealthy beauties, in a world where politics and media jostle for influence, where sex is power and celebrity an obsession.”
“The directors give the story a barbed conviction and the female players, especially, act to the hilt.”
“All credit to the world’s most pale and interesting heartthrob for subverting, if not entirely upending his image.”
“The topical relevance of ‘Bel Ami’ cannot be overstated.”
“[The] film establishes a tone, but just the one: it’s a strident note of sexual opportunism sounded over and over, with a briskly repetitive score ramming it home.”
“Woefully short on connective tissue among characters and incident.”
“Bel Ami” is now available on VOD and opens in limited release on June 8th.