The Serpent's Kiss (2000) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

The Robbins Recipe: "The Draughtsman's Contract" revisited, except without Greenaway's talent. That's a bad sign, because I like Greenaway's work, EXCEPT for "The Draughtsman's Contract", so this is a grade-b version of the one I don't even like.

Here's another brilliant rating job from the MPAA. This film is rated R for "brief language". That explanation is so silly that I didn't even believe it. I figured there had to be something in the film to justify an R. Wrong. Brief language was it. In a story that takes place in 1799, a guy says "fucking" once or twice. There's your R. No nudity, no violence.

The plot - 

A young Dutch architect comes to the house of a wealthy English couple to design them a new garden. The house is full of whispered secrets. Perhaps the architect is not who he claims to be. Perhaps the whole garden is part of a scheme to bankrupt the landowner, as concocted by the wife's evil scheming cousin. If that's enough plot for you, perhaps you'll stay awake during the film. 


Did I mention that the family has a mysterious daughter who may be insane. Or not.

This is one boring movie, where all the secrets are telegraphed in the first few minutes, and the remaining film is lacking any form of dramatic tension, and desperately requires an infusion of energy. Richard Grant does a pretty good job on the villainy, but the rest of the characters seem to be in a trance, even the usually dependable Pete Postlethwaite, who doesn't seem very comfortable as the wealthy landowner. It seems that he wants to be doing some delicious scheming with Grant.

DVD info from Amazon.

  • Widescreen letterboxed. 1.85:1

  • no meaningful features.

If you hate costume dramas, well, that's what it is, and a largely humorless one at that.

If you like costume dramas, proceed at your own risk. I like them in general, but not this one.

The Critics Vote

  • Apollo 39/100

The People Vote ...

  • With their votes ... IMDB summary: IMDb voters score it 4.5 
IMDb guideline: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence, about like three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, about like two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, about like two stars from the critics. Films under five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film, equivalent to about one and a half stars from the critics or less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well.

Based on this description, this film is an E. I love period dramas, especially about this period. I hated it.

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