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Dangerous Liaisons 1988 ****

Adapting a epistolary novel is no easy task; the Choderlos de Laclos novel taken on by writer Christopher Hampton for his stage success explores a complex narrative from a number of different points of view, with no narrator and a series of deceptive letters instead. Although Milos Forman’s Valmont was underrated, Stephen Frears does a pin-sharp job with this period film, with Glenn Close a scheming Madame de Merteuil, Michelle Pfeiffer an innocent caught in the crossfire, and John Malkovich sporting several wigs at once as the playboy the Vicomte de Valmont. Uma Thurman, Keanu Reeves and Peter Capaldi all contribute neat work, and the labyrinthine ways in which the characters snare each other, and eventually themselves, makes for a classy, engrossing romp through sexual misadventure.


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