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Printed in Little White Lies magazine, November 2007.

The artist in a gorilla mask, cavorting in a cage circled by moustachioed prostitutes, is one of the few scenes in which this art house film comes alive. From Klimt’s deathbed, his life is portrayed through a fitful series of memories, using authentic events and dialogue to evoke fin de siecle Vienna. John Malkovich plays the womanising aesthete (again) but left me torn. Like the broken mirrors and fragments of gold leaf that recur throughout, the film almost courts an ambivalent response. From one angle it’s a lavish depiction of an interesting figure at an interesting time. Tilt it again and, as Klimt himself declares of one of his works, ‘it’s a fucking wedding cake made of shit’.

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