Total Eclipse
Other // R
Review by Chuck Arrington | posted February 10, 2000
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Synopsis: Total eclipse tells the story of poets Paul Verlaine(David Thewlis) & Arthur Rimbaud(Leonardo Di Caprio). Set in Europe circa 1871, Total Eclipse explores the relationship these two men shared which was both sexual & professional. Paul Verlaine at this time was already an established poet. He married well & lived painfully, having to endure the slings and arrows of his in-laws as he shared their home with his devoted wife. After receiving some of Rimaud's literary works, Verlaine hurridly invites him to his home in Paris where the two can work together while learning from each other as well. Unlike the older and accomplished man that Verlaine has become, Rimaud is a 16 year old unprincipled brat that does as he chooses when and with whom he may choose. Recognizing and enjoying his Rimaud's "freedom" of will and whim, Verlaine grows closer to Rimbaud in an attempt to learn all he can from this "gifted" young poet. Rimbaud however, is not satisfied with their current "working" relationship and begins to set fire to Verlaine's marriage by seducing Verlaine with both his words & body. This is their story, Total eclipse

Audio: The audio is a 2 channel stereo platform that adequately presents the audio effects of the film. There were really no effects that would warrant a 5.1 platform & the 2 channel stereo did just fine. Quite unremarkable audio presentation.

Video: The video is a widescreen non-anamorphic presentation. It was incredibly clean & in one or two places brilliant. There were no imperfections or markings that I noticed.

Extras: The only extra included on the disc is a trailer for the film.

Overall: This is entirely not my kind of movie. While I do enjoy period pieces, I did not enjoy this film at all. As this is a film about poetry, why was there no poetry spoken! It's really just homoeroticism wrapped up in a blanket of psuedo intellectual atmospheric banter. Leonardo in a word...overacted. He can be a brilliant actor, if you don't believe me check out What's eating Gilbert Grape, but this role was just awful. All I can say is, I hope Verlaine & Rimaud wrote better than they lived. If this film in any way accurately portrays their existance, they were really sad, sad men. That having been said, skip this loser & go for something with a little more meat in the way of plot, acting & interest. This film had none of the above in any good portion.



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