Dorian Gray: confronto tra libro e film



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Review of “Dorian Gray” by Oliver Parker, and confront with “The picture of Dorian Gray” By Oscar Wild.

“Dorian Gray” is a movie based on Oscar Wild’s novel, “The picture of Dorian Gray”, and it tells the story of a young aristocratic London's guy. Dorian, it is his name, obtains immortality thanks to a portrait and he starts to wander in search of any more unbridled pleasure. But his search, after a momentary pleasure, leads him increasingly to corruption.

London, Victorian Age. A young man, Dorian Gray, is just returned at his native country, after the death of his last relative. So, alone with a great heritage, he is swept into the social whirlwind by the charismatic Lord Henry Wotton, who introduces Dorian to the hedonistic pleasures of the city. Henry's friend, the famous painter Basil Hallward, paints a portrait of Dorian to capture the full power of his youthful beauty. When the portrait is unveiled, Dorian, corrupted by the pleasures shown by Henry and by his speeches, says that he would have given up his soul in order to remain forever young like the portrait. So, Dorian meets and fells in love with a young actress, Sibyl Vane. But when the girl is left by a Dorian increasingly cynical and corrupted, she kills herself. Dorian initial grief disappears as Henry persuades him that all events are mere experiences and without consequences, and his hedonistic lifestyle worsens, distancing him from Basil. Dorian goes home, where finds his portrait warped and realises that his pledge has come true; all his sins, all his physical defects and all his years, modify the canvas while he remains ever young e handsome. The chaos of the picture of Dorian Gray starts, leading him to kill Basil after that the painter sees what his portrait does. Having left London to travel for some years, Dorian returns and fells in love with Henry's daughter, Emily, despite Henry's distaste for such a relationship based on Dorian's lifestyle.
Dorian, with his new love story, and remembering what he did in the past, he realizes that he wants to change his life, running away with Emily. But in the while Henry studies old photographs, and he catches the secret of Dorian. So Henry goes to Dorian’s house where he find the portrait. Then arrives Dorian and next Emily. In the subsequent confrontation between the two men, the portrait catches on fire, Dorian sends Henry and Emily out of the house and he lets himself burn with the portrait.

As I have said before, the movie is referred to the homonymous book, but from it there are lots differences. For example the beginning and the ending are totally different: The novel starts with Henry who is seeing Basil painting Dorian, and not with the arriving in London of the young man. Then in the ending there isn’t all the part about Dorian and Emily’s love-story. Another difference is Dorian’s love story with Sibyl, that in the novel is more developed, with a deeper introspection of Sibyl figure and life. But What I have suffered more is the cut of almost all the monologues of Henry about life and beauty, that I think are the real substance of the story.

I really don't enjoy this film , because it is too different from the book whose name it bears. Then I don't like the director’s choice of focus too much and too much times on sex scenes, rather than giving space to the thoughts of the characters.

Alessio Sorretino