The full title of Marat/Sade is "The Persecution and Assassination of Jean-Paul Marat as Performed by the Inmates of the Asylum of Charenton under the Direction of the Marquis de Sade." It's a film version of a play presented as being written by de Sade (for whom sadism is named), and acted out exactly as if it were performed by the inmates of the insane asylum where de Sade spent his last years writing plays for them to perform. If you think that this sounds a little too bizarre to be an enjoyable movie, you're half right. To be exact, it's much too bizarre.
I'm willing to concede that I may not be precisely part of the avant-garde audience that this film is aimed for, but I'm not completely lacking in culture. The fact that Marat/Sade was performed by the Royal Shakespeare Theatre Company made me actually look forward to seeing what interesting things they did with this admittedly odd-sounding premise. Unfortunately, while this film hits the heights of "bizarre," "grotesque," and "pointless," it never even approaches "interesting."
Half a musical, Marat/Sade tells its story (such as it is) primarily through songs sung by the inmates, interspersed with speeches on philosophical subjects from de Sade (Patrick Magee) and Marat. Over the agonizing course of two hours, the last days of Marat are acted out, until at the end, the inmates turn against their audience in an orgy of violence that is both pointless and repugnant.
It's quite likely that the filmmakers didn't intend that Marat/Sade be precisely "entertaining." However, to be worth watching, a film has to give something to the viewer. If it doesn't entertain, it has to provide something else: some sort of meaning, an insight into a person, a place, or a time, or at least some aesthetic elements that can be appreciated for their own merit. Marat/Sade has none of these.
Marat/Sade has "low-budget" stamped all over it. With a noise-filled, dull-looking image, the film shows that it evidently didn't merit any sort of cleanup, much less restoration. The 1.85:1 transfer is non-anamorphically enhanced.
Again, low-budget problems strike again. The mono soundtrack is muffled at times and harshly blaring at others. Between those two extremes, it's generally muddy-sounding.
A trailer is the only special feature offered on the disc.
If this movie has a point, I haven't the faintest idea what it is supposed to be. It's not enjoyable; it's not interesting; it's not even particularly well done in terms of visual imagery. It's the kind of movie that makes you want to write to the studio and request that they refund not just your money, but the time you spent watching it. Don't bother even for a rental.