This is the first project Catherine McCormack picked after her success as Mel Gibson's lover in Braveheart. She confessed to Total Film that she didn't like the result and it's been waiting two years for a release here after bombing in the States under the distinctly straight-to-vid title of Dangerous Beauty.
The problem isn't so much the story (which is based on the diaries of 16th-century courtesan Veronica Franco), as the execution: the whole thing is given an unrealistic gloss. High-class prostitution looks so glamorous it's a wonder that all Venetian women didn't choose whoring as a career. McCormack does her best, adding some class, but she isn't given much help. Laughable dialogue, soft-focus camera work and a bug-eyed Rufus Sewell (who plays her beau) all conspire to destroy her best efforts, in a movie worth watching only for its hilarious Spartacus-style ending.