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Thriller about Guy Luthan (Hugh Grant), a British doctor working at a hospital in New York who starts making unwanted enquiries when the body of a man who died in his emergency room ... See full summary »
Sarah Jessica Parker
Two English cartographers visit the small South Wales village of Ffynnon Garw, to measure what is claimed to be the "first mountain inside of Wales". It's 1917, and the war in Europe continues. The villagers are very proud of their "mountain", and are understandably disappointed and furious to find that it is in fact a "hill". Not to be outwitted by a rule (and the Englishmen who enforce it), the villagers set out to make their hill into a mountain, but to do so they must keep the English from leaving, before the job is done. Written by
Selected for the "Un certain Regard" section (Cannes International Film Festival, May 1995) See more »
Elevations of climbable mountains weren't then and aren't now determined by triangulation to known landmarks; it would have been done by "spirit levelling," which is, more or less, a local measuring of one's vertical change along a path from an already established elevation which, in turn, is ultimately tied to sea level. Elevations determined by sightings to remote landmarks, as in this film, would be very imprecise because of atmospheric refraction. Indeed, if such a technique could have worked, the hill elevation could already have been determined by measurements from the supposed reference landmarks. A resurvey of a hill that might have turned it into a mountain would have been a differential measurement. The surveyor would only have had to measure the elevation change between a nearby point that he had already passed through on the way to the summit, and the modified summit. See more »
For some odd reason, lost in the mists of time, there's an extraordinary shortage of last names in Wales. Almost everyone seems to be a Williams, a Jones, or an Evans. To avoid widespread confusion, Welsh people often add an occupation to a name. For example, there was Williams the Petroleum, and Williams the Death. There was Jones the Bottle, and Jones the Prize Cabbage... which described his hobby and his personality. Evans the Bacon, and Evans the End of the World. But one man's...
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Those two adjectives say it all. Hugh Grant is at his best as a shy WWI era officer whose task it is to measure the mountains of Wales. He plays very well against Colm Meaney, a rogue and scoundrel who finds his better nature despite himself.
This film was crippled before an American audience because of its slow pace and long title. The humor is subdued, and often buried under accents that many moviegoers must have been unfamiliar with. But I believe this film only improves with repeated viewings. The actors do a uniformly good job, and play their characters with great heart.
The soundtrack stands out as one of the best as well. It adds to the mystery and beauty of the region and adds a unique feel to the film.
Children may find it too slow and dull, but anyone with an appreciation for a good, heartwarming story will enjoy it. I recommend it in particular to those with a love for the British Isles in general, or Wales in particular.
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