Reviewed by: Cad Wallander
|2 hr. 4 min.
|Year of Release:
|Geoffrey Rush, Joaquin Phoenix, Kate Winslet, Michael Caine, Michael Jenn
|Mark Huffam, Julia Chasman, Nick Wechsler, Peter Kaufman
|Fox Searchlight Pictures, a sister company of 20th Century Fox, a division of The Walt Disney Company
Synopsis: (from the producer)… A fictional work that reconstructs the unknown fate of the Marquis de Sade, the writer and sexual deviant who was imprisoned in Charenton Asylum for the last 10 years of his life, QUILLS is a creative period piece from director Philip Kaufman (THE RIGHT STUFF). In the film, the Marquis de Sade (Geoffrey Rush) befriends the director of the asylum, Abbe Coulmier (Joaquin Phoenix), and both share affections with the asylum laundress, Madeleine (Kate Winslet). But when Napoleon sends in a doctor (Michael Caine) to cure the Marquis of his supposed madness, the Marquis’s rebellious character only grows stronger.
Marquis de Sade often stated that people who act moralistically have deeper impulses that run even darker than the “perverts” or “heathen.” Witness Michael Caine’s character, a cruel (dare we say sadistic?) latter-day psychologist. He has been sent by one Napoleon to “cure” de Sade of his perversions. Well, the good doctor selects a young teen from the nunnery to take (literally) as his wife. The moralist doctor rapes the young virgin their first night in bed. Dark forces indeed. Graphic and deviant sexuality is rampant in “Quills”.
De Sade’s appeal to the masses was his audacity with how he approached taboo, yet natural instincts, chiefly sexuality. He realized that a lot of western culture’s preoccupation with the taboo stems from it being labelled as such in the first place.
Now Jesus would not have liked de Sade’s raving lust, but one senses that Christ would have identified with the man, just as he did with Mary Magdelene. However, St. Paul surely would have condemned this filthy man and his filthy mind. As such, so must I.