Pandaemonium: Alex Bailey
Lisa Schwarzbaum
July 19, 2001 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Pandaemonium

type
Movie
Current Status
In Season
mpaa
PG-13
runtime
126 minutes
Limited Release Date
06/29/01
performer
John Hannah, Linus Roache, Dexter Fletcher, Samantha Morton, Emily Woof
director
Julien Temple
Producers
Arts Council of England, BBC Films, Mariner Films, Moonstone Entertainment
distributor
USA Films
author
Frank Cottrell Boyce
genre
Drama, Historical

We gave it an B+

A century before extravagant, self-destructive, drug-abusing rock stars roamed the earth, poets were also doing their bit to create a new utopia and restructure their brain cells. Pandaemonium goes a long way toward capturing the compelling delirium of opium among a crowd of freethinking British iconoclasts. More specifically, the film, with its swoony visual and narrative style, illuminates the intensity of the friendship between William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge, played by graceful, sharp-edged BBC types John Hannah and Linus Roache, respectively. (The women in their lives, Wordsworth’s bohemian sister and Coleridge’s homespun wife, are played by Emily Woof and Samantha Morton.) The madness of the relationship: Coleridge, the addict on the way to ruin, was clearly the more creative — and Wordsworth hated him for it.

The miseries of misbehaving poets in ”Pandaemonium” follows filmmaker Julien Temple’s two charged documentaries about the Sex Pistols, ”The Great Rock ‘N’ Roll Swindle” (1980) and ”The Filth and the Fury” (2000). Rebelliousness, obviously, is his discipline.

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