Edward Cullen has clearly forgotten all about Bella in the just-released international trailer for “Bel Ami”, an upcoming adaptation of the 1885 French novel by Guy de Maupassant in which “Twilight” actor Robert Pattinson stars as Georges Duroy, a penniless journalist/ex-soldier who rises through the ranks of 19th-century Parisian society by seducing the city’s most powerful women.
In this new clip for the film (directed by Declan Donnellan and Nick Ormerod), we see the young heartbreaker aggressively bedding the likes of Uma Thurman, Christina Ricci and Kristin Scott Thomas in order to gain social favor – but of course his self-interested manipulations don’t come without a price.
To be frank, it’s hard to see Pattinson as anything but Edward Cullen these days, and that’s largely because with his post-“Twilight” projects (“Water for Elephants”, “Remember Me”) he hasn’t moved far enough away from the on-screen “loverboy” persona he’s become known for to demonstrate any discernible sort of range. Of course, if he doesn’t possess it, then I suppose he’s smart to stick closely to what’s largely worked for him in the past; if he does, I’d say it’s about time he starts diversifying a bit and playing a broader spectrum of characters (maybe David Cronenberg’s “Cosmopolis” can succeed in showing a different side to him?)
I bring all of this up only because the glimpses of Pattinson’s performance we’re shown in the trailer feel more or less redundant of what we’ve seen him do before – the moody glower, the bedroom eyes, the shyly seductive smile. In the final shot we even see him emerging into the glow of the daylight – a visual that either intentionally or unintentionally evokes a similar one near the end of “New Moon” (“Twilight” fans will know what I’m referring to here). Of course, the way the trailer was cut isn’t Pattinson’s fault, and it certainly isn’t enough to judge his overall performance on – but I’m also not sure it’s enticing enough to pull in anyone outside of his die-hard fanbase.
On the positive side, the costumes and set design certainly look pretty – there are few periods as alluringly cinematic as 19th century Paris – and the film’s rock-solid trio of leading actresses (Thurman, Ricci and Scott Thomas) are given a good deal of screentime here and serve to somewhat heighten the film’s overall appeal. But the trailer’s whiff of “been-there-done-that” – right down to the sweeping score which sounds as it could’ve been lifted from one of dozens of other period romance trailers – is mighty overpowering nonetheless.
“Bel Ami” hasn’t yet been slated for U.S. release.
My grade for the trailer: “C”. When you’ve finished watching it below, rate it for yourself at top left!