(Marquis De Sadeâ€™s) Justine: The Misfortunes of Virtue
Released by: Kino-Lorber/Redemption
Released on: 4/24/2012
Director: Cris Boger
Cast: Glory Annen, Jeannie Collings, Jennifer Guy, Katherine Kath, Martin Potter, Koo Stark
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Two teenage girls studying in a convent suffer the loss of both parents, the father by suicide and the mother of a broken heart. When those running the establishment learn there is no money to extort for the girls, they throw them out on their asses to fend for themselves. 16-year old Justine (the stunning Koo Stark) and her 17-year old sister Juliette (Lydia Lisle) are both virgins and decide they can go to 18th century London and learn how to make money off their virginity and their nudity and leave the nuns behind them.
Upon reaching the big city, they quickly find what theyâ€™re looking for, and Juliette jumps right into things without batting an eye, but Justine just canâ€™t do it. Sheâ€™s innocent, young, and pretty, full of virtue, but unfortunately that makes her a prime target for the animal lust of men (even the head nun). She spends most of her time in the movie fending off would-be rapists, while her sister lives it up and seems to have made the correct choice of path for her life. Hence the â€œmisfortune of virtueâ€ in the title. It seems Justineâ€™s saving herself for the right man makes her life a living hell, and she battles one pervo attack after another. Her fate is not a pretty either.
Also known as â€œCruel Passionâ€, Justine seems to this viewer as little more than an erotic drama with some exploitive elements thrown in to give the film an element of sleaze. And itâ€™s quite dull.
There are lots of things going for it too, like really nice photography to start with. This film was framed by cinematographer Roger Deakins (No Country For Old Men, The Big Lebowski, The Assassination of Jesse James) and is his first feature length job. Itâ€™s very appealing to the eyes and thereâ€™s no shortage of interesting things to look at. Also, lots of nudity can be seen in this one, including some lesbian action; lesbian NUN action that is. The first portion of the film gives the appearance that the movie is a Nunsploitation venture, but unfortunately that doesnâ€™t turn out to be the case. Some prolonged whore house scenes are pretty interesting, and the story takes a bit of a turn when Justine becomes involved with some thieves that shakes things up a bit. But these elements just donâ€™t keep the film from moving at a snailâ€™s pace.
It takes the story forever to get to where its going, and the periods between anything of interest happening are too long, which may result in the urge to fast forward to get to the good stuff. Even Koo Stark, with her amazing eyes (and who looks a lot like Evangeline Lilly of tvâ€™s Lost), canâ€™t kept this one from the brink. Sheâ€™s not shy at all, neither is her sister and we thank them for that, but it doesnâ€™t make much of a difference. Itâ€™s like taking liver and putting vanilla frosting on it.
As with the other discs in the line of Blu-rays from Kino/Redemption (this one being numbered â€œ9â€ on the spine of the cover), the film looks pretty darned nice. The colors stand out well, and donâ€™t appear to be over saturated. Flesh tones look correct, black levels are deep enough and void of pixelation. No DNR was applied from the look of things, and the detail is clear. White flecks appear throughout but are not distracting. Its not jaw-dropping stuff, but it certainly is pleasing. The audio is a 2.0 channel mono track, with minor imperfections that are most probably due to the technology used to record the sound. Nothing to report otherwise and the track does its job with competence.
The extras include some interviews ported over from the 2004 Redemption DVD (director Chris Boger and screenwriter Ian Cullen, totaling about 26 minutes in length). A couple of alternate titles sequences are available, as well as the trailer (in HD), a photo gallery, and trailers for other Kino/Redemption releases.
The Final Word:
Itâ€™s a really nice looking movie, both in composition and in the HD remastering, and it has a good helping of sleaze, but Justine is boring. Itâ€™s tough to say, â€œyeah go for itâ€, but at the same time itâ€™s tough to say, â€œavoid this movieâ€. Just know going in that itâ€™s not going to keep you riveted to your seat, eagerly awaiting the next sequence of events. Your patience with the film might give you some reward, but in the end the reward might not have been worth it.
Click on the images below for full sized Blu-ray screen caps!