Cruel, but not enough steam

Review of Cruel Intentions (1999)

Review of Cruel Intentions (1999) movie, by Stefan Stenudd


The 18th century story about seduction, love and betrayal is a juicy one, deserving the many movie versions it has gotten lately. Here it is moved to a contemporary upper class late-teen setting, which is a splendid idea. Eros rules there, as well.



       The actors obviously take delight in filling their characters with lust and longing, hatred too, and the story runs along with youthful energy. The problem is the lack of steam, of sensuality brought beyond the level of romance. The siblings with their games of seduction, make sense only when allowed to show a most heathen worship of sexuality, but here at times it becomes almost Victorian.

       So, when love enters and conquers lust, it's not much of a change. The actors might have been aroused, but the camera was all the time prudish, closing its eye when things were about to get hot.

       The theme was treated with too much inhibition, and the power played with by the siblings, seemed like not much of a power at all. Seductions were so swift, copulations so lighthearted - no excitement, no taboo, no sense in the characters being so dramatic about it.

       Eros is a much more powerful deity than that.

Stefan Stenudd
9 February 2003




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I'm a Swedish author of fiction and non-fiction books in both Swedish and English. I'm also an artist, an historian of ideas and a 7 dan Aikikai Shihan aikido instructor. Click the header to read my full bio.