Reviews written by registered user
Si Cole

3 reviews in total 
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2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
Destructively heartfelt and honest, 5 August 2001

Brief Encounter remains a classic simply because of the timeless integrity of its subject matter.

Celia Johnson plays Laura, a morally upright woman contemplating an extra-marital affair with a charming doctor called Alec (Trevor Howard). What is remarkable is that you feel sympathy for Laura even though she is falling into the realms of adultery. The acting is so impressive simply because they are playing characters you are likely to meet in real life. Also, the reason why this romance works so much more than most commercialised Hollywood romances, is because the leads are not particularly attractive. They are normal, every day people, who meet by chance. It is something which could happen to anyone.

The direction from Lean is educated and mature. He does not overplay any scenes, he simply lets to tension build within a likely situation like it would do in real life. There is no supernatural or extra-ordinary element to this film. It is effective because of its relation to reality.

I recommend this British classic to anyone and everyone.

Gladiator (2000)
Pure, exciting, old-fashioned entertainment, 5 August 2001

Every now and then, a film comes along with adrenaline-pumped action, first-class acting, delicious cinematography and with warm, old-fashioned storytelling charm. I believe that Gladiator is one of those films. Russell Crowe gives a memorable performance as the heroic Maximus Decimus Meridius, Joaquin Phoenix is sensually evil as the embittered, power-hungry Commodus and the late Oliver Reed gives one of his career-best turns as Maximus' idealistic trainer.

The story had enough depth to compliment the action sequences and the score to the film was just sensational. One of Han Zimmer's most accomplished compositions, and one to remember with nostalgic sentiment. Connie Nielsen was also credible as Lucilla, the troubled sister of Commodus, repressed of hope by her brother's dark affections towards her. The sheer magnitude of Rome, the fight sequences in the wilderness and the battles in the amphitheatre elevate this film from the run-of-the-mill Hollywood crowd of films, and witholds a historic value to boost its credibility.

I don't think its one of the best films of all time, because some of the subplots are not given the depth I would have liked, and some were given too much. The incestual relationship between Lucilla and Commodus lacked subtlety. The ending though, is very special. I think about Maximus' ideal of heaven and I wonder how close he is to the truth.

887 out of 1199 people found the following review useful:
The best story ever told on film, 3 August 2001

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I believe that this film is the best story ever told on film, and I'm about to tell you why.

Tim Robbins plays Andy Dufresne, a city banker, wrongfully convicted of murdering his wife and her lover. He is sent to Shawshank Prison in 1947 and receives a double life sentence for the crime. Andy forms an unlikely friendship with "Red" (Morgan Freeman), the man who knows how to get things. Andy faces many trials in prison, but forms an alliance with the wardens because he is able to use his banking experience to help the corrupt officials amass personal fortunes. The story unfolds....

I was so impressed with how every single subplot was given a great deal of respect and attention from the director. The acting was world-class. I have never seen Tim Robbins act as well since, Morgan Freeman maybe (e.g. Seven). The twists were unexpected, an although this film had a familiar feel, it wasn't even slightly pretentious or cliched, it was original. The cinematography was grand and expressive. It gave a real impression of the sheer magnitude of this daunting prison.

But the one thing which makes THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION stand above all other films, is the attention given to the story. The film depends on the story and the way in which it unravels. It's a powerful, poignant, thought-provoking, challenging film like no other. If Andy were to comment on this film, I think he might say: "Get busy watching, or get busy dying." Take his advice.

Thoroughly recommended.