Johnny Depp plays this part wonderfully. I've always been a fan of Johnny since I saw Blow and since then there is not a single film I've seen that he has starred in that I have not been able to appreciate in some way or an other and coincidently, it has been his role in the films that as made them for me. The strong supporting cast, such as John Malkovich and Samantha Morton also made this enjoyable.
The story is based on the 2nd Earl of Rochester and his short life as a poet, a womanizer and a philander. Plenty of sex and titties, but not in the glamourous way. the film begins with Johnny (The Earl) giving a prologue:
Allow me to be frank at the commencement. You will not like me. The gentlemen will be envious and the ladies will be repelled. You will not like me now and you will like me a good deal less as we go on. Ladies, an announcement: I am up for it, all the time. That is not a boast or an opinion, it is bone hard medical fact. I put it round you know. And you will watch me putting it round and sigh for it. Don't. It is a deal of trouble for you and you are better off watching and drawing your conclusions from a distance than you would be if I got my tarse up your petticoats. Gentlemen. Do not despair, I am up for that as well. And the same warning applies. Still your cheesy erections till I have had my say. But later when you shag - and later you will shag, I shall expect it of you and I will know if you have let me down - I wish you to shag with my homuncular image rattling in your gonads. Feel how it was for me, how it is for me and ponder. 'Was that shudder the same shudder he sensed? Did he know something more profound? Or is there some wall of wretchedness that we all batter with our heads at that shining, livelong moment. That is it. That is my prologue, nothing in rhyme, no protestations of modesty, you were not expecting that I hope. I am John Wilmot, Second Earl of Rochester and I do not want you to like me.
The first 45 minutes focuses mainly on John Wilmot's (The Earl) drunken and lecherous ways. He is commissioned by hios good friend Charles II to create a masterpiece to show an embassador to France what England is really like. When the time comes, the piece is about as pornographic as things could get, much to the outrage of Charles II. It would not be the first time the Earl has showen him up in this way. John is banished, again. From this point forward it becomes apparent that being pissed for 5 years does take its toll on the human body as Johnny faces a nasty range of gripping diseases from Smallpox to scurvey. Then, in the arms of his loving wife (despite her knowing full well he's been all but faithful) and in the company of his friends, he dies.
I've left out a lot of detail, for this, I hope my small descript is enough to make you want to watch it for yourself. I was fucking riveted to my seat throughout. The film contains many finer points of England in the 17th Century (as fine as it could really get!) It scripts the English language masterfully. Again, I'm vague, this is pretty much because I don't want to ruin it by telling all.
Rating: 10/10 Definately one if you're into drama and history
I'll leave you with the epilogue:
So here he lies at the last. The deathbed convert. The pious debauchee. Could not dance a half measure, could I? Give me wine, I drain the dregs and toss the empty bottle at the world. Show me our Lord Jesus in agony and I mount the cross and steal his nails for my own palms. There I go, shuffling from the world. My dribble fresh upon the bible. I look upon a pinhead and I see angels dancing. Well? Do you like me now? Do you like me now? Do you like me now? Do you like me... now?