Directed by Roland Joffe
"Vatel" lavishes beaucoup francs on re-creating the court of the Sun King, Louis XIV, in the France of 1671, and then kills the effect with a script that's from hunger. Whatever they spent hiring "Shakespeare in Love" Oscar winner Tom Stoppard to adapt an original screenplay by Jeanne Labrune, they was robbed. What there is of a plot involves cooking. Gerard Depardieu, looking alarmingly beefy, plays Vatel, the steward to the Prince de Conde (Julian Glover). The prince is going bankrupt, but if Vatel can cook up a feast fit for a king when Louis (Julian Sands) visits the prince's country chateau all will be well. That's the movie, with Vatel acting like a pre-Food Network Emeril taking time out for bedding a courtesan (Uma Thurman) and stopping the king's brother (Murray Lachlan Young) from buggering little boys. This putrid dish marks a new low for director Roland Joffe and — mon Dieu — he's the guy who gave us Demi Moore in "The Scarlet Letter."
star ratingFox Searchlight Pictures
star ratingMagnet Releasing
star ratingUniversal Pictures
star ratingWarner Bros. Pictures
star ratingWarner Bros.
star ratingWalt Disney Studios Motion Pictures