By: Oberst Von Berauscht (A Toast) –
Quills is like an Emily Bronte-style period piece; with lavish costumes, classically trained actors, and palatial sets. With the added bonus of rape, murder, and random buggery. The story takes place in post-revolution France, at an asylum for the insane, Maddy (Kate Winslet) works with her mother as a laundress, and she is desperate for something interesting in her life. That something turns out to be the stories of the Marquis De Sade (Geoffrey Rush), an inmate whose sexual deviancy and affinity for satire is quenched through his writing. But he has a passion which is even more dangerous, that of getting his work published. Napoleon Bonaparte himself appoints Doctor Royer-Collard (Michael Caine) to oversee the Marquis’ “recovery”. Standing in his way is the Abbé Du Coulmier (Joaquin Phoenix), who would far rather the Marquis express his deviancy through writing than violence.
He had a tendency to get a little rapey, is what I’m saying
Drink deeply of your goblet of hate, because Quills is a savage attack on hypocrisy. The filmmakers create a sense of group-psychosis in the asylum, which contains characters from all walks of life who have, for one reason or another been judged insane. The movie is also an attack on censorship, making the argument that forcing an individual to not express his sexuality leads to violence and depravity. Geoffrey Rush gives a career-best performance as the Marquis, who is both sensitive and artistic, and a psychotic sex-fiend. When the Marquis is allowed to express himself through writing, he is fairly harmless, but take that away, and pretty soon he covers the walls with shit and howls at the moon.
Yeah actually, maybe I won’t show you that…
Joaquin Phoenix also delivers a solid turn as a repressed Priest whose own religious ideas that he follows so devoutly ultimately destroy him, driving him to a level of madness so real that I’m pretty sure they used a time machine and just shot Joaquin 10 years into the future.
When he apparently became Zach Galifianakis
Michael Caine is also fantastic to watch, he is in many ways just as deviant and sadistic as De Sade, but clothed under the guise of a respectable physician. By the end of the film comes full circle and embraces his hypocrisy. His therapy that he provides to the insane include tortures that seem more at home in a dungeon than a hospital.
We eat, we shit, we fuck, we kill and we die. And we watch movies.
Bonus Drinking Game
Take a Drink: for Penis humor, or detailed vaginal description
Take a Drink: for every instance of, or reference to rape
Drink a Shot: as needed, until you stop feeling so dirty