Ben Barnes in Dorian Gray (2009)

Boring Gray

Following his arrival in London, Dorian (Ben Barnes) meets both the lover of life, Lord Henry Wotton (Colin Firth), and his artist friend Basil Hallward (Ben Chaplin) who insists on painting a portrait of the handsome young man. On seeing the finished portrait Dorian vows to always remain the handsome devil in the painting. As time passes Dorian doesn't age what so ever but whilst staying young and handsome he becomes corrupt user of people and products to attain pleasure. But whilst Dorian never changes the image in the portrait tells a very different story.

Director Oliver Parker has made the same mistake with "Dorian Gray" as other directors have made when they have adapted Oscar Wilde to the big screen. That mistake is making a movie for those already familiar with the novel and not making a movie which speaks to those unfamiliar and not fans of Oscar Wilde. As such, having never read Wilde's novel, watching "Dorian Gray" is at times an arduous experience which seems to go for shock tactics as it brings to life Dorian's hedonistic pleasures as he takes to bed everyone and anyone from mothers & daughters to men.

Colin Firth and Ben Barnes in Dorian Gray (2009)

The thing is because "Dorian Gray" doesn't cater for those who are not wild about Wilde the rest of the movie fails to grab you. What does grab you is the commitment the actors show to their performances and there is no denying that this cast lead by Ben Barnes have a certain appeal. But you see I am clutching at straws to really enthuse about this movie as whilst it is technically well made with the scenes designed to shock and grab your attention doing just that everything else in it just didn't grab me as it catered for Wilde fans and not the masses.

What this all boils down to is that maybe "Dorian Gray" entertains those who come to it as fans of Oscar Wilde and know the story already. But for those who don't this is a movie which grabs you with its shocks but fails to draw you in to the story and the characters.