Dangerous Beauty

Rachel somehow roped me in to watching Dangerous Beauty tonight. The story is about one of those girls born into an honorable but bankrupt family and forced to find something to do. This one becomes, pretty quickly actually, a courtesan. Overnight she is the temptress of Europe, the prostitute-diplomat, and then she gets what she wants, falls in love (with no consequences, so take that Moulin Rouge!) and finds happines. Along comes the plague, and pretty quickly she is brought to trial, and gets to put up a fun defense. I say all of this, giving away most of the movie’s plot, because even more was given away in the trailer. Almost makes you think the higher ups either a) couldn’t find enough else to make a trailer, or; b) didn’t see all this “story” as the main selling point.

I liked the wit employed, I liked Oliver Platt and the other main characters, but at the same time I found much of the plot predictible. The pacing was up, getting the initial story of unattainable love out of the way quickly, but the transition to courtesan was much too fast. I mean, this girl was shy and witty, and ten minutes later she was outgoing and caustic. They stopped for some great development and a sword fight, but then it picked up again and before you knew it there was a plague with little build-up. Most of the “beautiful” Venice shots seemed fake to me, and I never connected to the city as a living entity, something that seemed important to the plot and the ending. Furthermore, the final speechifying seemed to lack some of the elegance, grace, and wit (maybe edge?) of earlier dialogues — the heroine didn’t really take the right path.

I was left wondering if I was really supposed to care for these characters. The only ones I really liked were Oliver and Moira Kelly’s Beatrice. I liked the movie, but I saw a lot of things that could have been better.