Director: Declan Donnellan
Starring: Robert Pattinson, Uma Thurman, Kristin Scott Thomas, Christina Ricci
Pattinson trades fangs for avaricious social climbing as Georges Duroy, an opportunistic cad in belle époque Paris who uses his sexual magnetism for ruthless personal gain.
Credit to Pattinson for nailing Duroy's repellent, empty charm as he seduces a string of rich society wives, played by Thurman, Ricci and Scott Thomas, on his rise to the top.
Making their film debut, the British theatre veterans Donnellan and Nick Ormerod stick closely to Guy de Maupassant's source novel and, although the narrative feels a bit underpowered at times, they prove to be whizzes at evoking period detail. A talentless heartthrob achieves fame and wealth strictly on his looks? Call it a parable on modern celebrity culture.