This is a brilliant investigation on the intransigence of love. Would-be femme fatale Kate (Bonham-Carter) finds her plotting to get both love and money unhinged by jealousy. Iain Softley directs beautifully and all three leads perform brilliantly. Of course Venice looks good but the trappings of period drama, where pomp and costume get in the way of the drama, are avoided with the dissection of the corrupting influence of cynicism.
The final scene where the protagonists make cold love in a garret are amongst the best portrayal of emotional desolation that I can remember in cinema. Beautifully framed close ups of Kate’s pale demeanor as she lays down her final condition for marriage to her lover are haunting in the despair they signify. If only all adaptations of great ‘period’ novels were this good.