Synopsis by Hal Erickson
The third adaptation of Choderlos de Laclos' classic novel Les Liasons Dangereuses, Milos Forman's Valmont was released one year after Stephen Frears' more famous version of the de Laclos original, Dangerous Liaisons. The plot remains the same: two debauched, depraved 18th century French aristocrats, the Vicomte de Valmont (Colin Firth) and the Marquise de Merteuil (Annette Bening), conspire to destroy several innocent lives, just for the fun of it. But whereas Stephen Frears concentrated on the machinations of the marquise, Forman, per his film's title, devotes most of his screen space to Valmont (played in the Frears version by John Malkovich). In fact, Forman's film concludes with Valmont's conscience-stricken renunciation of his past sins, and his duel to the death, rather than de Meurteil's well-deserved comeuppance. Forman has chosen to set the story back some 50 years, de-emphasizing the opulence that was vital to Frears' vision; he has also utilized a younger cast.
aristocracy, betrayal, con/scam, deception, love, lust, manipulation, revenge