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Yes, what you've heard is true. Quills is about the Marquis Donatien de Sade. Come on buck up! A little S&M never hurt anyone...well, anyone who wanted to play rough that is.

This is one hell of a film, folks! Geoffrey Rush (another Aussie) is simply magnetic as Marquis de Sade. He gives the ancient villain of real life real soul. Each time he utters a line, spews a perverse verse or spittles a seedy sound, you are there. Back in 1799 with the master of maniacal ménage- a- trois. Rush's de Sade is so well done in fact, one is almost charmed by the lord of lecherous lust.

Yes, de Sade wrote the most infamous porn ever quilled to parchment- but more than that, he was a tad whacked. He actually enjoyed a good nipple twisting followed by perhaps a blunt knife's slice or two into the genitals. Just to compliment his evening's wine really. Red, I think. I know it's definitely white wine with whips.

While Quills gives some insight as to the acts Mark enjoyed, he comes off as a rather cynical, paternal, French Larry Flint , not as a man who was a trifle cruel and self-serving. Not all of his "partners" were into the shindigs he had planned. This story is not historically true.

Quills borrows from the myth of a less vile de Sade for its main character and says - was de Sade really that sadistic or merely a victim of those colonial thinking times? You know like the old Dick Van Dyke show with two beds in the master bedroom...I fell for that till my early twenties.You be the judge since you simply must see this brilliant movie.

Story Sade has been imprisoned in a sanitarium, rather then an actual prison (this time).

He befriends his chambermaid, Madeliene ( Kate " Don't even whisper Titanic or I'll deck you, okay" Winslet). She's an avid reader of his yarns of yearnings, his tales of torture, his bedtime bawdies. So she assists him in smuggling his writings to an underground publisher.

Meanwhile the Dudley DoRight Abbey (Joaquin " I'm getting better looking with each role, no?" Phoenix) in charge of the place also takes a shine to Marquis. This Abbey's hell-bent on reforming the perverse Parisian and saving his demented soul. He also gives de Sade many special amenities, even though he is well aware of the Count's notorious reputation. Is the dear Abbey maybe weakening to the quill scratchings himself? Hmm.

Enter the evil doctor, Royer- Collard, sent by Napoleon himself. This wee winkied William is an altogether separate chapter in Freud's text on the male psyche. The doctor (Michael " I want to do like 14 movies every six months- so the public doesn't forget me. " Caine) is just as sadistic as its namesake. He'll get a small comeuppance...fear not.

Surprisingly, Quills has better laughs than some of the registered comedies I have seen of late. As de Sade , Rush had these lyrical one-liners that would make Dennis Miller giggle and take notes.

Joaquin Phoenix is really proving he's no one-hit wonder. His eyes really make his acting intensely intensified. He always looks stoned dosen't he? Stoned or not, his performance should get a nod from several award shows.

Everyone, and every word, is practically perfection. Enjoy. Oh, and leave your parents at home for this one...not a family movie kiddies.

Here's a little de Sade-ism to get conversation going at your next soirée-" Conversation, like certain portions of the anatomy, always runs more smoothly when lubricated. "

Snack Recommendation: Fresh Tongue

Starring: Geoffrey Rush, Joaquin Phoenix, Kate Winslet and Michael Caine.

Directed By: Philip Kaufman




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