Based on the novel by Guy de Maupasant, Donnellan’s first feature film centres on a fairly one-dimensional protagonist – the impecunious former soldier Georges Duroy (Pattinson) – and his torrid rise through Parisian society. Given the formidable ladies he beds on his way up, however, we are left querying this anti-hero’s non-physical attractions. The movie works as an indictment of vacuous Belle Époque mores and their contamination of politics and society but falls short on recreating the relationships that perpetuate them.
Bel Ami | Directed by Declan Donnellan (UK/France/Italy 2012) with Robert Pattinson, Uma Thurman, Christina Ricci, Kristin Scott-Thomas. Starts April 26