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With a dazzlingly devious script and succulent performances by a top cast Dangerous Liaisons is one of the most entertaining, deliciously subversive costume dramas ever made.

Even when you see as many movies as I do, some classic pictures fall through the cracks. Dangerous Liaisons was one of those films I had somehow never seen before. But yesterday I had the great fortune to finally watch it on the big screen and boy, did the movie deliver!

Spurred on by a cracking Christopher Hampton screenplay the cast of Dangerous Liaisons sinks its teeth into vicious, witty dialogue and audacious plotlines that see the conniving Madame de Merteuil and the womanizing Vicomte de Valmont join forces to wreck the reputation of two young noblewomen.

The gusto John Malkovich and Glenn Close display in the central roles, through subtle body language, gleeful glances and magnificent line readings sweeps you up in the tremendously entertaining and often darkly funny narrative. A young Michelle Pfeiffer, Uma Thurman and even a surprisingly good Keanu Reeves provide exquisite support.

Stephen Frears, whose directorial style I often find too bland and predictable, here shines with telling close-ups and smart camera blocking. From the Oscar-winning sets and costumes to George Fenton's fittingly subversive musical score, all the technical aspects of Dangerous Liaisons are ace as well.

So even if I had never seen Dangerous Liaisons before, I'm sure I'll be checking out the film many more times in the near future and enjoy its succulent delights.

release: 1988

director: Stephen Frears

starring: John Malkovich, Glenn Close, Michelle Pfeiffer, Uma Thurman


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