Yes, Johnny Depp is as good in this under-played central role as he was in BLOW. But there are so many other stars in this modest 'Isle of Man' films production. This squalid and muck-spattered 17th century love-child of stage-writer Stephen Jeffreys is on a par with those other two great period pieces about debt and betrayal Amadeus and Dangerous Liaisons. The writing (and direction) is just superb, here's a direct lift from the dusty screen:
Rochester: I wish to be moved. I cannot feel in life. I must have others do it for me here in the theater.And we all know where FREE PLANET stands on squirm-scaled neck of 'arbitrary', in the corporate-lawset sense.
Elizabeth Barry: You are spoken of as a man with a stomach for life.
Rochester: I am the cynic of our golden age. This bounteous dish, which our great Charles and our great God have more or less in equal measure placed before us, sets my teeth permanently on edge. Life has no purpose. It is everywhere undone by arbitrariness. I do this and it matters not a jot if I do the opposite...
In fact, I don't even need to scour out a worthy venue for this 'film review', it's not even FOR YOU that I do this, it's for me and my own shared enjoyment of a perfectly superb CREATION of PASSION and, freakishly, KINSHIP.
So, King Charles II gets his reprieve,
Lizzie Barrie gets her stagely adoration,
George Etherege gets his fame and fortune for his epic tale of the stolen life of Lord (the 2nd Earl of) Rochester.
And that closing choralised rendition of one of Michael Nyman's songs from THE PIANO SINGS, my heart was uplifted and in chaos of soaring to close to the sun, de-waxed of feather.