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The Serpent's Kiss
The Serpent's Kiss
Actors: Ewan McGregor, Greta Scacchi, Pete Postlethwaite, Richard E. Grant, Carmen Chaplin
Director: Philippe Rousselot
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Horror, Mystery & Suspense
R     2001     1hr 44min

Fans of Peter Greenaway's arch and ornate films (The Draughtsman's Contract, Drowning by Numbers) may enjoy The Serpent's Kiss. A young Dutch landscape artist named Chrome (Ewan MacGregor) is hired by a homely but rich lan...  more »

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Movie Details

Actors: Ewan McGregor, Greta Scacchi, Pete Postlethwaite, Richard E. Grant, Carmen Chaplin
Director: Philippe Rousselot
Creators: François Duplat, Hans Brockmann, John Battsek, Kieran Corrigan, Peter O'Malley, Robert Jones, Tim Rose Price
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Horror, Mystery & Suspense
Sub-Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama, Horror, Mystery & Suspense
Studio: MGM (Video & DVD)
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen - Closed-captioned
DVD Release Date: 04/17/2001
Original Release Date: 01/01/2000
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/2000
Release Year: 2001
Run Time: 1hr 44min
Screens: Color,Widescreen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 2
Members Wishing: 0
MPAA Rating: R (Restricted)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

Ewan mc gregor shines in the serpent's kiss.
amy rannells | waterloo, iowa | 04/28/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I thought Ewan's performance in The Serpent's Kiss was one of his finest ever. I have seen all of his movies, and he still amazes me every time with the depth of his talent. I found it to be a beautiful, sensual film. His scenes with Carmen Chaplin, who plays his love interest, were very romantic and moving. It is very refreshing today to see a film without all the violence, profanity, and explicit sex scenes. I also enjoyed knowing it was filmed in Ireland, because I have visited that beautiful country. Other co-stars include Pete Postlethwaite, Greta Scacchi, and Richard Grant. I waited a long time to see this film, and it was definitely worth the wait."
Filming Marvell's Poetry
Linda | Boston, MA, USA | 09/11/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Experiencing "The Serpent's Kiss" benefits from a re-reading of Andrew Marvell's poetry, the volume that figures so strongly in the film. Characters' lines, at times direct quotes, derive from "The Garden," "Holland," "Bermudas," "To His Coy Mistress," "The Reaper" and others. The characters, in costume, actions, motives and speech, enact the dualities that Marvell explores: Nature versus artifice, eros versus reason, the present versus posterity, humility versus vanity, love versus materialism.
The cinematography, production design and costumes recreate the world of Vermeer, Van Dyke and other 17th century Dutch painters. The film's visual aspects are emblematic of (and sometimes in contrast to) the spirit of late 17th century Northern Europe, especially Holland, England and Ireland, and reward symbolic readings of color, light, and composition.
The script makes fascinating use of imagery, involving flowers, water, industry and agriculture, darkness and light, which enriches the narrative when traced. Consider the use of brambles, the scent of flowers, their exotic versions from the "dark side of the world", tobacco and "medicinal" herbs. In effect, the film asks What is and where is the real garden? Who is barren and who is fertile, physically and spiritually?
Although somewhat simplistic and awkward in execution and with some uncomfortable anachronisms in the script (not "f***" by the way, which has been around a long time), this is a thoughtful, delicately humorous film, well-acted and produced with unusual commitment and deep feeling there within the esthetic feast. In any event, filmed poems are rare.
[Looking into the Glorious Revolution of 1689 when William and Mary became Britain's rulers, seeing pictures of their garden at Het Loo, so similar to Chrome's design, and researching details of Marvell's life reveals the filmmakers' attempt to ground this film in time, place and experience)."
Serpent's Desire
Valerie Miller | Thousand Oaks, California United States | 08/25/2002
(3 out of 5 stars)

"It seems that our fine Mr. McGregor has a terrible propensity for duplicity. One minute he's starring in big-budget Hollywood productions (Moulin Rouge/ Star Wars), the next he appears in little unknown art house films such as The Serpent's Kiss, which no one saw along with Nora and failed terribly at the box office.
As far as The Serpent's Kiss is concerned, I wish more people knew about this film. Not only is it well acted by a well assembled all-star cast (such notables as Greta Scacchi, Pete Postlethwaite, and Richard E. Grant), but is beautifully photographed and the plot is sure to thrill you - if you can sit still long enough to pay attention.
I almost gave up on this film solely due to the irritating nature of Ewan's poor Dutch accent, but as the film continued I was relieved to discover that the accent was supposed to be that way due to the nature of the character (believe me, I was very relieved - for a while there I thought Ewan was getting lazy and had stopped trying).
This film also manages to make gardening seem interesting - and erotic even, as the sexual tension between a few of the characters thickens very, very quickly.
The DVD sadly is disappointing as there are no behind-the-scenes special features which is what I half bought the thing for. So you are buying the CD for the movie alone.
This film is entertaining and beautiful, and Ewan is just gorgeous in it, but not his best work."
Criminally underrated
C. Jannuzi | Fukui, Japan | 06/14/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Comparisons to Greenaway are misleading. It gets compared to him mostly because of one film (Draughtman's Contract, Greenaway's best if you ask me) and one fine actor (Ewan McGregor, who starred in another Greenaway film, the Pillow Book).The characters are deeper and more human in this film, rather than simply representing ideas in some sort of post-modern satire. The acting is all around excellent. I can't think of a single performance that wasn't above average to astounding. To discuss the film's plot in detail is to risk giving too much away, as this is a film where there is a lot of surprise and mystery about the main character, Minier Chrome (Ewan McGregor) and his increasingly complex relationship with the Smithers family, for whom he is building a splendid baroque garden.A better 'genre' comparison might be Robert Downey Jr. and Meg Ryan film set in almost the same time period, Restoration (just a bit before). However that film moved around a lot and centered on a wildly uneven character, and in this one, no characters truly dominate (though the actor who plays Fitz steals every scene he is in), and we hardly ever leave the estate where the garden is being built (an English estate, but filmed in Ireland, where apparently the countryside is far more intact)."