Reviews written by
Eumenides-0

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30 reviews in total 
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2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
Voyeurism And Obsession With Death, 28 August 2004
7/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD

Someone with a superficial knowledge of the Italian giallo cinema, Hitchcock and De Palma's own movies previous to Dressed To kill will see how all the pieces in the movie add up to create what is an otherwise enjoyable thriller. It's not as bad as I expected it to be upon reading previous comments. It is a movie that owes a lot to the history of cinema, that's for sure, and perhaps a bit to De Palma's persona life - I understand Peter Miller and his recording equipment are based on an episode in De Palma's life which has somewhat transpired a bit into all his films via voyeurism.

The plot is a straightforward mystery story about a transsexual psychiatrist who's adopted the persona of ‘Bobbi' and is murdering female patients for reasons concerning his sexuality. Michael Caine performs this role with his natural talent. Nancy Allen plays a prostitute who becomes Dr. Elliot's next victim after she witnesses his first murder. Again, Allen also does a good job. And we have Dennis Franz as a rather stereotypical detective, and he's somewhat okay. Unfortunately their performances are restrained due to the screenplay which isn't awe-inspiring. The characters - especially detective Marino - do some illogical thinking and actions in the movie, like forcing Liz to commit illegal things to clear herself out of any suspicion… even though he knows she's innocent. There are convoluted things like this going on throughout the movie.

In between the plot De Palma overemphasizes the sex and gory violence in the movie, very seldom feeling necessary. This, I'd assume, is the giallo influence revealing itself. The ending is De Palma emulating Carrie's ending, which feels just a fill-in. And yet there's a scene I love in it: a nurse is checking a bed-ridden Dr. Elliot, who wakes up and proceeds to strangle her; then he starts undressing - and this is all happening while above him, in several balconies, an audience watches with glee and applauds. This morbid interest in death is perhaps a reflection of the viewer's own voyeuristic interest in seeing this bloody story being told, which is not unlike Hitchcock's Rear Window. I recently read an internet article about a doctor recently made a public autopsy with an audience present, reminiscent of the old medical sessions where a teacher would cut up a body while his class watched the operation. There is modern interest in watching death, and perhaps for that Dressed To Kill is more relevant today than in 1980: the whole movie reeks with the notion of voyeurism and sensory information and the fascination with death, and perhaps demands from the viewer introspection as to why he wants to see these bloody movies.

0 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
Could Have Been Fantastic!, 24 August 2004
5/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD

2001 should have been a great year for French cinema: Amélie had come out and taken the world by surprise by becoming one of the most successful movies of the year, showing Hollywood that European cinema can also score an audience-friendly movie once in a while. But then Michael Haneke decided to make La Pianiste, one of the dullest movies I've ever seen: bad dialogue, lack of characterisation, characters acting out of character, a bad structure, and your typical ambiguous ending that can mean a million things but ultimately means nothing! I should have enjoyed La Pianiste: on the surface, the main story is amazing; the exploration of a woman's repressed sexual life and the dark perversions that are born from it; the psychological exhaustion of leading such a life of loneliness without a soul-mate to share her fantasies; and the effects of her perverted fantasies on an innocent young man. I can just see David Lynch making a modern masterpiece out of this material. But in the hands of Haneke, with his poor execution of ideas, it's all dull and meandering and not as captivating as it seems.

The protagonist, Erika, a repressed piano teacher, and her domineering mother are badly established at the start of the movie. For one thing, Haneke seems to know little about subtlety: in his eagerness to show the conflicted relationship between Erika and her mother, he starts the movie with such an extreme situation it's almost ludicrous: Erika comes home late, her mother enquires her whereabouts, the two argue and quickly engage in physical violence and name-calling. This could be a nice scene towards the end, but not in the beginning as Haneke forgets these two women who almost killed each right now are going to live together for another 120 minutes of the movie, and obviously it doesn't look realistic to have two people who hate themselves so much living so peacefully afterwards. Haneke should have started with a small incident and slowly raise the bar until culminating in a scene of physical violence. Because, in fiction, once you reach this point the logical step is to top it with murder. You don't just apologise your mother after hitting her in fiction… that causes another problem: Erika acts out of character; first she hits her mother, which is fine, but immediately apologises, thus taking two steps backwards from her initial characterisation. And how can it be that a grown up woman who hates her mother so takes her around everywhere? Their relationship does not convince me - I don't believe a grown up woman would act like this towards someone she hates; if Haneke had had the grace of showing it's impossible for her not to live without her mother, that'd have been fine, but it seems Erika could leave her mother's house at any moment but never does for no apparent reason.

The whole movie is this melodramatic - the characters' actions just fluctuating as it pleases the film-maker, not because they'd actually act like this. The initial scene would have been better tied with the later one where Erika tries to have sex with her mother. This way Haneke could make another connection between love/sex/violence, which is a running theme throughout the movie. Even so, the scene where she tries to have sex with her mother stands out as a good one in itself - one really understands how Erika finally feels alone as her last hope, Walter, abandons her and she retreats to her source of hatred for consolation. Walter, one of her students, is a so-so character: he's interesting at times, but unfortunately he's also poorly developed; the movie never convinces me enough that Erika's fantasies could have messed up his mind so much to the point of turning him into a rapist and woman-beater; the ‘seduction of the innocent' theme is always an interesting one, but Haneke just didn't push it far enough, which is strange considering he was pretty uncompromising throughout the rest of the movie.

Indeed, that's one of the things I appreciate in this movie - Haneke's uncompromising stab at Mankind's darkest side and the creation of very gruesome characters. Even so, this movie isn't as disturbing as hype would have one believe: what passes for disturbing are really just great little touches: Erika visiting porn booths to watch sex, later indulging in voyeurism and watching a real couple having sex in a car; her smelling tissue papers with semen; her writing long letters with her sick fantasies; her cutting her vagina with a blade… those are all fine touches, which in the hands of a better film-maker would have turned La Pianiste into a masterful exploration of the human nature. The ambiguous ending shows Haneke didn't really know what he was doing with the movie, as a lack of resolution ends the movie in an unnecessary cliff-hanger. I suppose it's an end because nothing else comes after it, but it's not a resolution of the story in the sense Michael Corleone killing the five families of New York is a resolution to The Godfather, or the Photographer throwing the imaginary ball back to the mimes is a suitable resolution to Blowup. La Pianiste only has an end because it has nothing else afterwards, and it's a ridiculous one. This isn't a really bad movie, as it has great material, but quality is always in the execution of the ideas, and Haneke just didn't have the talent to pull it off.

2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Great Modern Comedy, 22 August 2004
8/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD

This is one of the funniest comedies I've ever seen - it plays as a court drama with some police investigation in between, but in the end it's just a great parody of all those serious court drama sub-genre. The plot is as straightforward as possible, and what's special in this movie is the dialogue and the character relationships - Pesci's Vinny and Tomei's Mona are a great foul-mouthed, wise-mouthed couple that are in a constant battle of wits. The actor who plays the judge - and I remember him from The Cotton Club - also steals many scenes for his funny performance as a no-nonsense judge whom you'd think almost has a personal grudge over Vincent, the way they never get along.

There are all sorts of jokes here - visual jokes like when Vinny shows up in court with a ridiculous suit; court procedure jokes like Vinny doesn't know he's allowed to see the case files until Mona points that out, fish-out-water jokes because Vinny isn't used to the country life, great misunderstandings like when Vinny visits the defendants in prison and one thinks he's there to rape them, and just great witty dialogues.

I love this comedy so damn much: it's so uncompromising and honest, hardly PC and it's full of genuine laughs. Joe Pesci and Marisa Tomei as the souls of the movie have created one of my favourite movies ever!

8/10.

39 out of 55 people found the following review useful:
Intelligent Character Study, 21 August 2004
9/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD

Runaway Train is one of the most fast-paced movies I've ever seen; there's tension in every scene, especially whenever Manny and Ranken or Manny and Buck interact. This fine movie doesn't take its thrills out of the fact there are two escaped convicts inside a runaway train. What's really thrilling is meeting two characters like Manny and Buck, watching them act and talk and understanding their complex personas.

Join Voight gives a fantastic performance as Manny, a toughened, ruthless convict whose only motivation is to escape prison; truth is, Manny is a bigger-than-life person who can't be confined, and yet he's a human monster who doesn't have a place on Earth either: the tragic ending he meets is most fitting.

And Eric Roberts proves he can act after all - his role as Buck, a young loud-mouth who worships Manny as a role-model, and is full of mannerisms is a great contrast to the weary, bitter Manny. What's great is that their relationship is explored to the last consequences once they find themselves in a runaway train - and it's not until then that we finally find out what a horrible human being Manny really is.

I enjoyed this movie very much - I expected a cheap thriller, and instead got a careful character study, enhanced by the straightforward, simplistic plot - which is however smarter than many others I've ever seen. It is true the best stories are the simplest ones: editing, cinematography, sound and directing are just outstanding in Runaway Train.

This is an action movie that doesn't dumb down the plot or insult the viewer's intelligence. This is a fine piece of film-making that's been sadly overlooked in modern times. I can say I'm glad I managed to see this movie once in my life time.

9 out of 10.

5 out of 10 people found the following review useful:
A Modern Hymn To Man's Triumph Against All Adversities, 21 August 2004
10/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD

A good Holocaust movie is that which always teaches us something new about the Holocaust that the former didn't. Schindler's List, I believe, was the first great, realistic movie about the Holocaust. I've also enjoyed Life Is Beautiful – a fantastic modern fairy-tale about the concentration camps – and the recent mini-series about Anne Frank and starring the always talented Ben Kingsley. All the three former movies introduced new aspects about the Holocaust. Now comes Roman Polanski's new masterpiece, and it's yet another bold, insightful look at biggest systematic genocide in modern history.

The Pianist fascinated me throughout the movie with never a dull scene - although this movie has almost no music or dialogue - and with a fantastic story about Man's ability to triumph against the harshest of circumstances. This movie is indeed a dark yet hopeful hymn about human nature's best quality: self-determination and perseverance, Man's will to always keep on fighting and never give up until one's dead. In this view, Wladyslaw Szpilman is a true hero; even if his entire goal is to survive throughout the movie, the challenges he faces to stay alive would easily break any weak-willed man. Szpilman surviving the horrors of the Holocaust makes this movie, to me, one of the most uplifting stories about the human condition. Whoever said happy endings are dull obviously needs to see The Pianist. I don't see anything wrong about happy endings, I actually love them, and I especially love a happy ending where the protagonist goes to great lengths and sacrifices to reach safety and peace. I don't think anyone can say Szpilman didn't deserve his happy ending.

In between this fast-paced story about survival, Polasnki explores some unknown facets of history that revolve around the Holocaust: I had never known there was a Jewish uprising against the Nazis in the Ghetto, where they stood their ground for weeks. I enjoyed that bit very much - especially as it's seen through Szpilman's POV from the window of the apartment where he's hiding. I also enjoyed seeing the black markets working in the Ghetto: people making millions smuggling goods while thousands around them starved to death; or the desperation people felt they'd steal each other's food and even eat spilled food off the ground… this is something I remember seeing in Anne Frank's mini after Anne is sent to the concentration camp, too. And what about the upper-class that ignores the suffering masses and spend their time in luxurious restaurants, like the one Szpilman works at? Polanski did a fine job of showing the Jews as normal, flawed people, not just victims to mourn for, and that made the movie even better.

The cinematography in The Pianist is also outstanding! I didn't know Pawel Edelman's work, but I was breathless looking at the camera work and the amazing shots in the movie. I look forward for his collaboration with Polanski again in Oliver Twist. One instance of cinematography I particularly love is when Szpilman is climbing a Hospital Courtyard's wall to get out and as he climbs up the camera slowly shows us what's on the other side: the devastated Warsaw streets… the bombed buildings, the debris everywhere; and as Szpilman walks up one of the streets his tiny figure pales against the gigantic hollow skeletons of the buildings siding him. It's a powerful shot as the viewer hadn't realised how wide the destruction of Warsaw was.

The movie concludes with a fantastic touch as a German Nazi officer helps Szpilman hiding in a bombed mansion being used as temporary HQ for the Germans until the Russians arrive. The idea of Szpilman hiding in the attic also reminded me very much of Anne Frank; but the fact an officer helps him is what's surprising, although it really happened. It's one of those mysteries about human nature that can't be explained, I guess, but I loved it, especially because the officer treated Szpilman with genuine respect, as an equal. His status as an artist seems to have been essential to have been helped through his odyssey; not that I'm taking away any merit in his survival for he had to fend for himself many times alone, but there were moments when he was helped because he was a pianist. Like a friend in the Ghetto tells him, it's his job to keep the spirits up as an artist… I'd say that's what he does by staying alive; in the story he's practically the only sign that things can survive such a horror as the Holocaust, reminding us that there's always hope in life.

10 isn't enough to properly rate this modern masterpiece about Man's fight for the survival.

Red Dragon (2002)
Just A Straightforward Thriller, 21 August 2004
7/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD

Red Dragon is yet another straightforward thriller trying to cash in on the fame of Hannibal Lecter... well, it's obviously better than the dreadful Hannibal, and of course it's not difficult to be better than the dreadful original version Manhunter... but again, the film-makers seem to forget a genuinely good movie is the sum of several parts, not just one, especially because that one part everyone's betting on - Hannibal Lecter - isn't a tenth as good as it was in The Silence Of The Lambs.

'Lambs' had a great thing going in its favour: it wasn't trying to be a Hannibal Lecter movie; the earlier Manhunter had flopped and no one knew who the hell Lecter was back in 19991 nor could they ever think such a figure would ever become so popular. So 'Lambs' was also betting on a great protagonist and intelligent screenplay... and so a strong feminist movie was born with an important modern theme and innovative execution.

Manhunter is just trying to e straightforward thriller about your average detective who goes after the bad guy; it's shallow and superficial and lacks any depth or memorable insight into the human nature. There were aspects I enjoyed, of course - Ralph Fiennes' performance as Francis Dollarhyde was far more interesting and developed than the original in Manhunter; and I enjoyed some shots of beautiful cinematography. Overall, though, everything was pretty average in this movie; never completely insulting to the audience or horrible to look at and have a good time with, but one shouldn't expect too much from Red Dragon.

0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:
Just Entertaining, 20 August 2004
7/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD

A Bronx Tale is a straightforward tale about growing up; there are no moments of brilliancy in this little movie or innovation in the terms the dialogue is used, the characters are built or the story is told: it's all told as you'd expect it; and yet it's an entertaining, intimate story that shares small moments of interesting character relationships: every scene between C and Sonny are very good as their relationship is the most developed in the movie.

However, at the end of the day, this movie does not know what it wants to be, or it just mixes too many older stories: To Kill A Mockingbird, The West Side Story, Goodfellas... you'll see this movie thinking about all these classics. And yet it's never an absolute rip-off nor completely of the same old stuff.

But as great a father as De Niro's character tries to be, he'll never be as clean-cut and decent as Atticus Finch, especially because he instructs his son not to help the police which lets a criminal go; but then goes about lots and lots of advices about how to lead a decent life... talk about hypocrisy.

C is a diluted, sanitised version of the protagonist in Goodfellas, but the actor here has nowhere the talent of Ray Liotta nor the great dialogue to develop his character that Liotta has... and yet, they're the same character: both Italian street kids who worship the local gangsters, want to be like them, even have their own voice-overs... but of course C has a less tragic ending.

Chazz Palmintieri gives an outstanding performance as the street-wise Sonny, the only character I truly enjoyed. Yet he was no more interesting than the typical non-Scorsese gangster you see in Hollywood movies... and I really felt for him in the end.

The screenplay is a bit muddle, but A Bronx Tale is otherwise an okay movie to show your kids if you want to teach them a quick, important moral.

7/10

5 out of 12 people found the following review useful:
Movies Are Not History Classes!, 18 August 2004
8/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD

Michael Collins is a powerful and emotional cinematic experience that creates memorable scenes of dramatic power and human nature. And that's what I look for in movies: drama, the stuff of life after all the boring bits of life are taken out; drama is the essence of life, and this movie has it in spades. Neil Jordan has crafted an enjoyable story about a man's struggle for his dream, the overwhelming odds he faced and ultimately his failure. This is not an unlifting story like Midnight Express or The Shawshank Redemption: these movies are great to watch because it's also about ordinary fighting extraordinary circumstances... and triumphing. In the end, good fiction is just about that: conflict, and there's only two possible conclusions: a happy or unhappy ending. Michael Collins has the latter.

I didn't watch this movie expecting education - there's non-fiction books for that - but just a good story about human nature. Liam Neeson was very good in the leading role of Collins, the man who reorganises the IRA into its modern shape: an invisible army of plain-clothes soldiers who fight with unorthodox methods; he was a pioneer in guerrilla warfare, for better or for worse, and that was all born out of his desire to see his country free.

The movie also counts with excellent suppoorting roles by Aidan Quinn, Alan Rickman, Brendan Gleeson and my favourite Stephen Rea. My only complaint is Julia Robert: her character was, to me, very futile. I'd have expected Jordan to focus on Collins the fighter, but it seems he saw the need to include a boring, out of place romantic subplot. I wonder if to flesh out Collins' personality? Jordan should know characterisation is not akin to love, but to emotions and actions: the foormer two do not need love to be expressed. There were two instances where I enjoyed Julia, though: when she and Michael discuss in a room while at the same time the IRA is systematically killing British detectives; when she's picking up her wedding dress and we see simultaneously Collins being assassinated. But this was more due to good editing than anything else.

Otherwise, Michael Collins is a fine movie with great cinematography and a beautiful score. Elliot Goldenthal is a great composer and I admire his work very much.

8/10

2 out of 7 people found the following review useful:
Just Proves Fiction Is Always Better Than Reality, 17 August 2004
8/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD

Fiction should be a very easy thing to understand - you can't believe in it! It's as clear and straightforward as that. So it baffles me why there's so many people criticising this movie for distorting the true story of William Hayes. It's a movie, and whoever believes it word for word isn't sane. That said, no movie should be criticised for not respecting reality. Any adaptation of real-life events must be fictionalised for the sake of drama... otherwise, it's boring. And quite simply, William Hayes' faithful account of his imprisonment in Turkey was boring and hardly the material for drama. A good dramatist will change facts to achieve maximum dramatic effect. Shakespeare did it every chance he get. Go through his 'historical' plays with a good history book and try not fall into the giant historical holes. And yet no one complains about Shakespeare. Well, I'm not going to complain about Parker/Stone's amazing movie because it's one of the most dramatically powerful movies I've ever seen in my life! Each movie creates its own reality and logic within the story itself, and in the Midnight Express the Turks were pure evil, Hayes was brutally treated, he killed a man for vengeance, and made a fantastic escape back into the USA. And there's nothing wrong with that... at least within the movie's logic, which is what one should pay attention to.

Midnight Express is the straightforward story of one man lost in a cruel world that wants to destroy him physically, but especially mentally, who triumphs against great adversities and overwhelming circumstances and odds. Basically, it's your typical uplifting, feel-goody movie.

The first ten minutes of the movie are excellent in themselves... it's practically silent as we're shown everything visually: from Hayes hiding the hash in his body at the beginning, to him 'hiding' himself under his shades, chewing lots of gum and sweating a lot to shows he's pretty nervous. In fact this weakness immediately tells us he's not going to succeed in getting inside that plane. And for all accounts, we should hate Hayes because he's a drug dealer. And yet he has a girlfriend - Susan - more importantly he has a girlfriend whom he tells to get into the airplane and leave him behind for her sake. He cares for her... and this behaviour is repeated again with his cellmates - especially with Max. We can't hate Hayes: he just put his girlfriend into safety. He's the good guy in the movie. The first ten minutes shows us that we're supposed to be rooting for him for the rest of the movie, and I do. More importantly, we must root for him because he's one man against a whole corrupt, backwards legal system that has no feelings. Do I think Turkey is portrayed accurately in this movie? Absolutely not! But this isn't Turkey; this is an abstract, Kafkaesque antagonist that's set out to create conflict in the movie, as rules of drama demand it - and throughout the movie this antagonist is personified by the chief guard prison guard, Hamidou. And the conflict is so overwhelming it makes Hayes struggle even more interesting to follow. As the legal system manipulates his sentence Hayes goes from a peaceful man to a resourceful, desperate man willing to do anything to escape Turkey.

In prison he meets interesting characters: his cellmates Max, the junky, Jimmy, angst-ridden guy, and Eric, a Swedish inmate who first helps Hayes setting in. Hayes shows the same commitment to them as he showed to Susan, and yet one by one he sees them all disappear: first Eric; then Jimmy, arrested after a foiled escape plan; and finally Max, brilliantly played by John Hurt: he's backstabbed by Rifki, the local snitch who turns Max to Hamidou on the fake grounds of selling hash. Rifki is the sort of character in fiction one just loves hating... there are actually two moments in the movie where one feels victorious over him: the first when Hayes and Max destroy his money, the only thing he cares for and for which he'd sell out on inmates like Jimmy. But the second instance is just about one of the most righteous, semi-cathartic scene in any movie wherein the viewer feels rewarded for waiting so long just to get sweet revenge: as Hayes loses his last friend, Max, after Rifki turns him to Hamidou, Hayes goes crazy and brutally attacks Rifki like a real madman, culminating in the infamous scene where Hayes bites Rifki's throat off.

It just feels so good!

But the heartbreaking moment in the movie comes at the end, when Hayes finally escapes. It's ironic that after so many mad schemes to escape prison, including through catacombs, Hayes just manages to escape through the front door. As we see him walking away from the prison to the sound of Giorgio Moroder's beautiful score, one can't hope to feel emotional. There's a sense of righteousness in seeing Hayes make it; after all, he wasn't bad enough to deserve a whole life in a Turkish prison.

The Midnight Express is a fantastic movie that explores Man's best qualities: perseverance, self-determination and love. The point of fiction is tell stories like this, as distorted as they may be, and I give this movie 8/10 for showing me raw human nature triumphing over impossible odds. And it's great to see Billy triumph especially because the odds are impossible... that's what makes the whole movie great.

1 out of 3 people found the following review useful:
Enormous Potential..., 5 August 2004
5/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

.. yet such a poor execution when it came to storytelling.

WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD

The Patriot has a lot of things in its favour, all in technical aspects - the cinematography is above average, although it's not Conrad Hall-like quality; John Williams also creates a beautiful score for this movie, although at times it was clearly recycled from Amistad; art direction, costume designs, make-up was all very good, but a good movie isn't made just of pretty things to stare at.

The battle scenes are complex, intense and riveting - thanks to the wonderful sound that highlights the carnage - hundreds of men forming ranks and shooting, reloading and shooting again, men charging on horses, the effects of cannon balls, as the balls ping-pong across the field and cut off people's heads and legs as it passes on... personally, it's something I had never seen before in war movies; usually they just explode, and so I'm thankful for this bit of novelty.

The storyline, however, was awful!

It started as an otherwise interesting story about a peace-wanting former soldier, Benjamin, who's forced to go to a war he doesn't want to go to protect his impulsive son, Gabriel, who wants to fight for his country against the British soldiers. I find this a good conflict and a justifiable reason for someone to go to war - as if revenging his family wasn't enough; and this is where the movie starts falling apart. Following the mould of Braveheart and Gladiator, The Patriot is yet another story about a man who goes to war to avenge his dead family at the hands of a tyrant. I don't have a problem with ideas and stories being recycled - where would poor Shakespeare be if everyone thought so? - but The Patriot doesn't pull off this idea with any new innovation or depth or particular panache.

The characters are very one-dimensional, although the filmmakers try to compensate this for giving everyone a lot of anger... that's not good enough, I'm sorry. The dialogue is uninspired and uninspiring, really - cliched at best! All the family relationships are played as traditionally, without anything new to look for; the characters react to the others like you expect them to, because you've seen it before thousands times, and you just know what their lines are and how they're going to deliver them. It's really annoying being able to second-guess every next scene.

The subplots aren't really great either - for some reason Benjamin falls in love for his dead wife's sister, although that's not really developed in the movie, and that's a good thing - the best, though, would have been to avoid just this cliche. Not every movie needs to be a love story - there was already a potential father/son relationship to explore, which was underdeveloped, instead - and people will see right through the forced ones. Which leads me to Gabriel and Anne's own love story - okay, I can buy the two love each other, but wasn't their marriage really just a reason for Anne to be killed so Gabriel would try to avenge her in a rash act of stupid bravery and die, so then his father will try and avenge him in the climatic battle. It's not like he wouldn't participate in it if Gabriel had survived, so what's the point of marrying him off in one scene and killing the wife right in the next? It's so rushed and again forced, it obviously feels fake.

Otherwise, the climatic battle was alright - if pushing the patriotism a bit too far... but hey, the winners write history, so...

Well, I give this technically impressive movie a 5/10 for its achievements in all the tech departments, but as a story it's really lacking good editing - especially a focus on cliches. Ah, and obviously Jason Isaacs gives the finest performance in the movie as the ruthless villain - terribly one-dimensional, but a great evil villain.

It's a pity, I really wanted to enjoy this movie more...


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