This forgettable adaptation of the Guy de Maupassant novel has one clever idea going for it: the vain, social-climbing antihero is played by Twilight heartthrob Robert Pattinson, whose instant celebrity mirrors that of the character. Unfortunately directors Declan Donnellan and Nick Ormerod never really work this parallel; instead they try to compensate for Pattinson’s limited skill by surrounding him with more engaging performers (among them Uma Thurman, Kristin Scott Thomas, and Christina Ricci) and keying his performance to theirs. As a result the supposedly cunning protagonist registers as a cipher, and the directors’ tendency to shoot dialogue scenes in close-up blunts any understanding of the social milieu he’s trying to conquer.