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Quills (2001)
Movie Review by The Gravedigger

Quills (2001) Geoffrey Rush portrays the Marquis DeSade, who is kept prisoner in a mental institution because of his very explicit sexual writings. In charge of the institution is a priest (Joaquim Phoenix), who considers himself the Marqui's friend and has a very liberal (for the times)view of caring for and working with his patients. Even though the Marquis is behind a locked metal door he's still able to get his writings out to the publishers via a friendly chambermaid (Kate Winslet). But when Napoleon gets ahold of one of the infamous novels he sends in a warden (Michael Caine) to the asylum to make sure no more writings are released.The Caine character is extremely uptight and reminded me a bit of the Herbert Lom character in MARK OF THE DEVIL. He enjoys putting his mental patients through various tortures. He is also newly married to a young woman who was kept in a convent-and he treats her very badly.A battle of wills goes on between the Marquis, the priest and the Warden, with the priest eventually losing the most. At first the Marquis' writing quills and ink are taken away, so he writes with wine on his white bed sheets. When this is taken away he writes a story on his own clothes. Finally, stripped of all clothes and any furniture in his cell, he dictates his stories to the chambermaid, who writes them down and supplies them to the publisher. In the end he ends up writing his last work with his own feces.The chambermaid ends up getting raped and killed by a disturbed inmate who is taken over by the images in the Marquis' work, who reinacts a particularly vicious scene upon her. This greatly distresses both the priest and the Marquis, both who had strong feelings towards her.The only one who gets ahead is the Caine character, the only evil one in the bunch. In fact, he ends up having his wards work on publishing the Marquis' work because he's making so much money at it. As for the priest, he goes insane and is locked up in his own institution. This is one of those movies about society filled with contradictions and absurdities, how people's views can change overnight if money is involved. Things which exist very much today.QUILLS is entertaining, has some horrific scenes and at its heart is basically a B-movie with A actors. If this was made in the 1960's I could see Vincent Price cast in the Marquis' role.
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