Hey there upper east-siders! Sounds familiar? Before Gossipgirl there's Cruel Intentions. A movie similar to the popular TV series but in a way very different in the way the characters attack each other's reputation and social standing.
Kathryn (Gellar) and Sebastian (Phillippe) Valmont are step-siblings with ferocious sexual appetites and absolutely no conscience. Both sublimely Machiavellian, they take pleasure in trifling with the hearts and lives of their lovers -- and they've both had plenty.
Phillippe is brilliantly seductive and dangerous as Sebastian, who unexpectedly finds himself falling in love with Annette, conquered by her virtue. He embodies affected nonchalance, but is incredible to watch in the sex scene in which he finally surrenders to his emotions, and even more sensational when he fervently denies his feelings in the face of his step-sister's ridicule.
"Cruel Intentions" is literally "Dangerous Liaisons" transplanted to present-day Upper East Side Manhattan and featuring ruthless teenagers playing sexual power games instead of 18th Century French aristocrats.
Ok ok... I didn't watch it before when it showed here because I expected it to dumb. Good thing I have idle time and had the chance to watch it... and I admit I was wrong.
Ryan and Michelle deliciously breathe life to the charaters' cruel and manipulative acts. Sexy, seductive, and cunning!
A wager is forged between these two manipulators: If Sebastian succeeds with Annette, Kathryn will offer herself to him for one night of completely uninhibited sex. If he fails, she gets his 1956 Jaguar roadster. Good deal ey?
Suspension of disbelief is an important prerequisite here, because I don't care what kind of monied, elite family you were born in to, there isn't a 17-year-old on Earth as sophisticated, suave and depraved as these Valmonts.
Every word and action is done with grace and the lavish dialogue is blended beautifully into modern speech patterns and they habitually toss off double-entendres that would make James Bond green with envy.
Although part of the movie made me feel like I was watching "Wild Things" (a trashy movie, also about sexually diabolical teens) with a MENSA IQ, "Cruel Intentions" is surprisingly more than just that.
Witherspoon here though is a bit miscast as the chaste Annette, and while early on she is strong in defending herself and her beliefs against this sexual predator, who eventually falls in love with her... she somehow lacks something... I guess her age when she did the movie had something to do with it.
Blair is an even less convincing. For me she didn't made a mark. She's like a 4-year-old who hit puberty a decade early.Overall, the movie is a masterpiece... although you shouldn't take things too serious as it can on certain parts feel like a soap opera.