Dorian Gray (2009) by Oliver Parker (7/10)
While this adaptation is far from perfect, in terms of the characterisation of Dorian himself, I do feel Ben Barnes did a pretty flawless job. There have been twenty-five portrayals of Wilde’s infamous Dorian Gray character since 1910. While admittedly I have yet to peruse them all, I do think Ben Barnes captured his essence very well. For instance, Barnes fulfilled a very endearing portrayal of Dorian’s internal struggle between his morals and the temptations that accompany immortality. Now Colin Firth, however, is an absolutely mesmerising Henry ‘Harry’ Wotton. There’s not much Colin Firth couldn’t convince me to do, but I have yet to see a more accurate take on the role so it is easy to understand how Dorian is initially, and so simply, corrupted. As Oscar Wilde himself said, his character of Harry was far more a reflection of himself than Dorian, and this only makes the film more enjoyable. However, if you are studying it (looking at you in semester 2, first year students) then it is not a reliable replacement for reading the novel. Just a friendly reminder!
League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (2003) by Stephen Norrington (2/10)
I’m all for supporting our own but how in the world Stuart Townsend was approved for this role is beyond all comprehension. I have watched this closely and hoped I could excuse it away as bad editing, but this simply isn’t the case. Townsend’s Dorian embodies none of the charm or wit of Wilde’s original character. But it is not just Townsend who is to blame. The dialogue in particular between Dorian and Mia, a vampire, in this film is so shockingly cringe-worthy they would have fared far better had they just stolen direct dialogue from the novel itself. Perhaps then I would not have been forced to watch dialogue presumably inspired by an awkward exchange in any pub of a Friday night.