Based on the play by Doug Wright, Quills offers a operatic and humorous portrayal of de Sade and his literary, sexual and psychological efforts.
Those expecting raw scenes on par with the visions of his books will be disappointed, but those interested in Sade or those who simply enjoy intelligent period pieces will be pleased by Quills, a thoughtful and well-performed story.
Kate Winslet is Madeleine, an earthy young laundress who helps the Master get published. Michael Caine, in his 468th film, plays a doctor who is sent by Napoleon to arrange Sade’s spiritual reformation and salvation. But alas, Sade is not saved, and continues to engage in thoughts and behavior that were only legally transcribed into the English language thirty-five years ago.
The film is not a biography, but a psychological exploration (part fact, part fiction) into the mind of a genius set in the madhouse where Sade died in 1814, appropriately one year before the regime that sought to muzzle him. For the non-aesthetes in the crowd, there is also a nice little subtext about censorship and free speech.
Thinky says: Putting the anal back into psychoanalysis. Oui, oui.