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Set in 1930s Shanghai, where a blind American diplomat develops a curious relationship with a young Russian refugee who works odd -- and sometimes illicit -- jobs to support members of her dead husband's aristocratic family.
Heathcliff is Cathy Earnshaw's foster brother; more than that, he is her other half. When forces within and without tear them apart, Heathcliff wreaks vengeance on those he holds responsible, even into a second generation. Written by
My love for Linton is like the foliage in the woods: time will change it, I'm well aware, as winter changes the trees. My love for Heathcliff is the eternal rock beneath: a source of little visible delight, but necessary. Nelly, I AM Heathcliff!
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I first happened across this movie on cable, and found myself absolutely captivated by Ralph Fienne's portrayal of Heathcliff. I can think of no better actor for the part, as Fiennes speaks volumes with his eyes alone, and magnificently portrays the tortured, twisted protagonist/antagonist. The rest of the lead cast is likewise brilliant, especially with regards to Juliette Binoche's endearing Catherine. The movie strays from Bronte's novel only on minor issues, and overall, performs in a manner worthy of the classic story.
The sensitive and masterful score by Sakamoto is almost a character in itself. Listening to it without distraction, it is almost impossible not to absorb the desolate and haunting mood of the film. The choice of locale for the movie was absolutely perfect, capturing the metaphors represented by the two great houses and the stark English moor.
This is definitely one of my favorite movies of all time, and one of the few occasions in which it may equal or even supercede the original novel. A must-see for fans of twisted period romances or anyone interested in pondering the roles of love and evil in the human soul.
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