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In 1941, Italy allies with Germany and ruthlessly conquers the much weaker country of Greece. On a remote Greek island, an Italian artillery garrison is established to maintain order. One Italian officer, Captain Corelli, adopts an attitude of mutual co-existence with the Greeks and engages in such activities as music festivals and courting the daughter of a local doctor. In 1943, however, after Italy surrenders to the Allies and changes sides in the war, Captain Corelli must defend the Greek island against a German invasion. Written by
Anthony Hughes <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sweet like candy but no more than that unmemorable
Against her father's wishes Pelagia marries her fisherman fiancé just before he goes off to war. When she stops getting replies to her letters everyone fears the worst but she holds out hope that he is still alive. Meanwhile the Greek's initial defeat of the Italian army causes Hitler to support a full attack that leaves Greece and it's island inhabited by Italian soldiers. Pelagia and her father find themselves housing Italian Captain Corelli, who loves music and is charming. While Pelagia hates Italians and loves her husband she finds herself falling for the Captain over time.
At the time of release there was plenty of dating couple who went to see this film and there was also a boost in the tourist trade in Greece, accompanied by lots of television travel programmes talking about the islands and the film. These two things were in my mind when I sat to watch the film tonight and I quickly understood why they were the case. Firstly the reason so many travel shows picked it up is because the film makes the place look great! Each shot is full of warm colour and the locations are picture-book all the way through. The idyllic feel that the location brings is also part of the wider film with a story that is sweet but high on Hollywood gloss. I have not read the book and have no intention of reading the book but I understand from other's comments that the screenplay has lost some 'difficult' elements and focused on the romance in the story. Ignoring this (as many who have not read the book will be able to) the film is just like the landscape sweeping, easy on the eye, nice and ultimately quite unmemorable.
This explains why it was a popular date movie or, to use that expression I generally dislike, chick-flick. The romance is simple and sweet and it is enjoyable on that level; I can't say it touched me on a deep level (or any level) but it was sweet and I quite liked it. Towards the end it gets harder and more about the war than the romance but I felt this was too sudden a change that had been left too late in the game to fully work it was too much of a sea change for me to fully go with it.
The cast are mostly pretty and OK just like the landscape. Cage is too nice to be true but still tries hard; his Italian accent has corny 'mama-mia' moments but is generally OK. Cruz is fairly bland and doesn't bring a great deal to the film other that her looks (which personally don't appeal to me that much) and Christian Bale is given little to do considering how good an actor he is generally. Hurt is good value as always and the support cast fill in the gaps well even if few of them have anything approaching what could be called a character.
Overall this is a sweet film that turns bitter for the final quarter of it's running time a change in mood that is quite difficult when it occurs due to it's suddenness. However it manages to stay quite sweet and romantic despite running with a simplified script and a glossy approach to everything. It is quite unmemorable and I doubt I shall ever watch it again but I found it to be like the landscape easy on the eye and rather pleasing to watch without touching me on more than a superficial level.
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