Dorian Gray, as directed by Oliver Parker

Whilst in Toronto last weekend for the International Film Festival, I caught a screening of Dorian Gray, the superbly realised adaptation of the Oscar Wilde classic which first appeared nearly 100 years ago in Lippincott’s Monthly Magazine and now stars the unheralded Ben Barnes and the meticulously brilliant Colin Firth. Directed by Oliver Parker, the film is a dark, dangerous, yet stunningly shot expose on the trappings of beauty and the inherent temptations that its combination with youth and curiosity can bring. The costume design, in particular, is wonderful, not just for the aspirational seduction of the draping and the romanticisim of the accessories, but for its shaping of an alluring but frightening world where darkness and light go hand in hand and the descent into madness is both sudden and expected. This is a compelling film, though not without its flaws. Mind you, the best of them rarely are.

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