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When I first saw the trailors for this movie, I was overjoyed. Anthony Minghella is one of my favorite directors. His English Patient has always captured my imagination and moved me deeply. The actors in this movie were some of my favorite. Jude Law and especially Nicole Kidman, whose last year's performance in The Hours shocked me with her undertone of power. And with a cast of amazing supporting actors, including the likes of Phillip Seymor Hoffman and Giovanni Rabissi. How could anyone not love this movie? Simple, it was sold to you. You were not expected to buy it or believe. It was a bad soap opera on wheels rolling into a ravine. True, this movie had its moments. But that is all it had moments of average filming that swept you away for a second. Yet, you were brought back quickly by the stereotypes of the film. The one that bothered me the most about this film was its love story. Contrived, that is all I can say. I am an avid movie fan and am usually quicker to love movies than to hate, but this rubbed me the wrong way.
The Civil War was a horror, but this movie seems to take prurient delight in blood, body parts and lots of grisly bits of gore. What makes this even more irritating is the fact that the acting is so strong, that the audience would have understood the horrors of war so much better if the director had allowed the actors to do their work. I can't blame the director for the ending, that's the author's contrivance, but that's what it is, utterly predictable, hokey and contrived. The script at best is an excuse to allow a whole bunch of fine actors do some thankless, but brilliant character work.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I have not managed to completely block out this film from memory even
though it has been two years since I've seen it.
Don't get me wrong - I have long forgotten the main story line - the relationship between Kidman and Law, that made no impression on me but it was the torture scenes in the film that really struck me. I cried for about two hours straight after wards.
It had never previously occurred to me how people, in war time, could take advantage of something as pure as a mother's love. We see several examples of this here - in both the scenes with Natalie Portman and with the mother with her fingers in the fence for keeping her son hidden at home. I was shocked at these scenes and will probably never watch the film again as a consequence because the scenes even now are perfectly clear in my mind. However, I am glad I watched the film simply because it has made me more aware to the horrors of war and the horrible cruelty that mankind can inflict on it's own.
The blonde albino character has been top of my list of most evil bad guy ever since I saw the film. His horrible sneer and lack of any human feeling for the people he tortured really hit a nerve with me. At one point I wanted to get up in the cinema and kill him myself (see the movie pushed me over the edge of reason,it only occurred to me afterward that I'd only be hitting a big screen - that shows the film's power and intensity at least).
I recommend the film for it's sheer experience not for the entwined love story but for the manner in which it depicts war without needing a battlefield.
We're back in the old South ("old times there are not forgotten). The movie old South. No balck people to speak of. (Well, we hear that Nicole Kidman freed her slaves in Cold Mountain, North Carolina - during the war - musta made her popular). Horribly staged battle scenes, laughable dialogue, generic southern accents, and a story-line that would make the writers of daytime TV hide for shame. It's a tacky, badly acted, badly directed joke. 2.5 hours of film-making at lowest ebb. Give it a miss. Or a take a bottle of scotch in with you and mock the film as it goes by.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Are you seriously kidding me? This movie got Oscar nominated for what? After
watching this I thought someone was pulling my leg. Lets start off with some
facts. This is a civil war movie filmed in Europe. Totally inexcusable. The
location was enough to make this movie doomed. But no instead we get a LONG
drawn out movie where Jude Law "Inman" dies at the end after watching him
live through every sort of situation imaginable he gets into a talking duel
with Cold Mountains "Billy the Kid" and slowly dies. Come on! How cliche is
this? Not only was the end of the movie pathetic it was anti climatic. What
a waste of an opportunity. You had all the makings of a good movie and all
the necessary characters early on, instead the script calls to kill everyone
off slowly throughout the movie. The art of good script writing is dead. To
many movies like this. Yes war is bad and people die, why not show us the
smart ones who live through it and how they did it.
Now lets not get me wrong Jude Law does a good job trying to be southern but I can't get over he is from England! The producer of this movie needs his head examined filming a Civil War movie in Europe with an English lead actor. Nichole Kidman does a good job but she just remains way to clean compared to the supporting cast and it stands out, she looks out of place even when they try to "dirty" her. Things like this and the completely depressing pathetic ending not to mention the overly long movie run time make this just not a very good film.
Movies with bad endings are always easy to spot. They never get much public support. The reason is simple people DO NOT like to be depressed. That is why I was so hesitant about Cold Mountain. I kept hearing Oscar Nomination but no big push by the public for it. Some things never change. Maybe one day these producers and directors will learn that people really do enjoy good, smart movies about redemption, hope and happiness. Not sappy tragedies. There is a reason Shakespeare is only brought up in literature class and Cold Mountain was named "Cold Mountain". Sometimes its obvious, what a waste of time.
Cold Mountain is seriously over-rated and over-blown. It would be improved by losing an hour, and from this viewer's standpoint, by losing the entire 2-1/2 hours. It is s l o w, utterly predictable and irritating. Neither Nicole Kidman nor Jude Law make convincing Southerners and, though she won an Academy Award for her role, Renee Zellweger is less believable than either of them. For obvious reasons, Cold Mountain reminded me of Gone with the Wind, another Civil War story that seemed to this movie-goer to last longer than the war itself. Though the earlier movie belonged to the romantic fiction category and this one pretends to be more realistic, they are alike in seeking to capture (as does Tolstoy's War and Peace) history through the stories of fictional characters. Tolstoy, of course, produced a truly great novel which no film maker has yet brought successfully to the screen. In its time, Gone with the Wind was an extremely successful movie from a box office standpoint and won many awards which, in this reviewer's opinion, were totally undeserved. It was based on a very bad though quite popular novel. As a novel, Cold Mountain is better than Gone with the Wind though that isn't saying much. As a movie, it also won more awards than it deserved but it fell short of the success the makers hoped for and may have expected. Gone with the Wind is proof of the adage that no one ever went broke under-estimating the taste of the American people. Cold Mountain is less dramatic proof of the same adage. It didn't make its producers rich but it didn't exactly make them poor either. Crimes against art often pay very well.
This movie really has nothing going for it. With the Reverend played by Phillip Seymour Hoffman complaining about his constipation and other toilet humor in a 2.5 hour movie, you know that they made no cuts at all and left the crap in, literally. It's a waste of good talent, and a total embarrassment. Dreadful!
After The English patient, I thought that nothing can be more kitschy and stupid while pretending to be very artistic. I was wrong. This is much, much worse than The English patient... The characters are incredibly stereotypical, the big "stars" are so weak you wouldn't believe. So is the story - especially if you compare it to that of the novel. (I'm not writing this because I believe a film adaptation should be faithful to the book, but in this case, like so often, the difference in quality is outrageous.) The music is the usual fake, flashy, gushy Hollywood score (there are very few good score composers in Hollywood...) This film is not even worth writing more about it. Definitely made for the Oscar, but the Academy for the first time seemed to ignore the bribe of Miramax, and fortunately this film didn't win any important award - except for Renee's that was rather a compensation for Bridget Jones... Don't waste your time for this rubbish. Only if you want to see an extremely bad film.
Cold Mountain alternates between the stories of Nicole Kidman, waiting
at home for her sweetheart to return from the civil war, and Jude Law,
her sweetheart trying to find his way back to her. For conflict we have
a rather nasty band of home guard who race around killing deserters...
But Jude Law is a deserter... oh no! Run, Jude, run!
Another period tragedy masquerading as romance adapted from a famous novel by Anthony Minghella. This time its a sweethearts separated by the civil war "tell me a tale" story. The plot is Mills and Boone / Midday Melodrama, but so exquisitely filmed with such an exquisite soundtrack that we hardly notice. It maintains a sombre tone throughout, and goes for tears almost non-stop.
I've pinned down the fatal flaw with the film. I felt that Kidman and Law had zero chemistry: that the film worked, but when the two finally met up, it felt wrong, like they were two separate satellites, individually fine, but there was nothing between them. Its built into the structure of the movie. The two hardly know each other before he goes off to war: they kiss, she gives him a photo and speaks in a poor southern accent, and that's it. Then they spend the entire movie not sharing the screen. They have their completely separate story-lines: him at war, and then journeying back to her; her at home waiting for him. So by the time they finally meet, we have gotten to know them both as independent from each other - and somehow this fits. Which is why it seems wrong once they're together. And there's the fact that Kidman is an ICE QUEEN!
She's becoming increasingly cold and distant - and looking more and more like Vivien Leigh. If she's not careful, she may just end up like Vivien. Her career is in danger of disappearing if she doesn't come back down to earth, experience the real world and real people again.
For a female protagonist in this film we needed somebody who the audience could associate with, imprint themselves on - instead we have someone with only relevance to her insulated celluloid world than to us, the audience. She's like a porcelain doll: elegant, but nothing to do with reality.
Zellweger is a definite scene-stealing highlight. A unique, vibrant character - almost a broad character, but not a 2D character.
5/10. Everything about its look is 10/10 stuff. Superb cinematography, great performances from Jude Law, albeit iffy southern accents right the way through, and despite the fact that I did not like Kidman at all in this, I enjoyed it, but its flawed, to my mind, by the lack of a chemistry, and Nicole Kidman's unwelcoming, mannered persona.
Many people sing arias about this monster of a movie, as they say. They told me many times it was a masterwork of pure art, as grand as The English Patient was. Well, for the start, I do not enjoy the Patient movie. Sorry. Cold Mountain was a yawning boredom almost all 3 hours. I waited for the famous Crater attack scene. It was shown. Not true, not as it was in reality. I wanted a Civil War movie and got a messed melodrama with very slow and poorly acting Nicole Kidman, very funny (the best there) Renee Z., and then, Jude Law. He was not good for his part. He was far too weak for that tremendously challenging character. So, even the parts of Donald Sutherland or Phillip Seymour Hoffman did not save this film from the abyss of boredom. Sometimes, it was OK, especially in battle or shoot-out scenes, but mostly - slow, deliberate and unnatural. There are many goofs, many historical inaccuracies for Civil War buffs' horror. Generally, it was a languid, prolonged, unnecessary dirty movie, which did not even come close an inch to masterworks like Gettysburg or alike. Sorry, it was not great.
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